2018

#zfexperts

Threat or Opportunity?

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Electric mobility is both a trending topic and a part of everyday life in China. The new technology poses major challenges to suppliers and OEMs – but simultaneously unlocks new opportunities.
Yue Wang, December 19, 2018
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Yue Wang is head of System House E-Mobility, Asia Pacific, at ZF in Shanghai, where he has been passionately working on highly integrated solutions for hybrid and fully electric drives since 2002.
Here in China, e-mobility is not just a hot topic, but also a daily reality for the automotive industry. Let me give you three examples.

1. From January to October 2018, nearly 700,000 “new energy vehicles” were produced – 91 percent increasing YoY.
2. In some cities, like Shenzhen, all newly acquired city buses and taxis are equipped with electric drives.
3. Our government has issued some regulations to encourage the growth of the electric vehicle industry. Manufacturers must meet an electric vehicle quota, for example, with vehicles that offer greater range counting more than those offering less. In Beijing and Shanghai, electric vehicles are issued a license plate without having to participate in the usual lottery. This lottery only limits the number of registrations of conventionally powered passenger cars.

Young generation values convenience and driving fun

Young generation values convenience and driving fun

Chinese consumers, especially the younger generation, are very open to the new technology. It has a positive image and offers a variety of benefits: driving in electrified public transport is quieter and cleaner, and hybrid technology saves fuel and makes driving more fun. Car sharing using electric vehicles means greater convenience and affordable transportation options.

Battle for talent in full swing

Battle for talent in full swing

For traditional automotive suppliers, the complex e-mobility environment is fraught with uncertainties, as it presents them with new challenges, like the need to close the technology gap that has resulted from electrical components and software, for example. In addition, the shorter development times compared to cars with combustion engines mean that they have to work at a faster pace. We are also seeing a fierce battle on the job market for talented individuals who can work on new developments with speed and expertise. And last but not least, remaining competitive with regard to costs is a top priority for automotive suppliers.
But there are also opportunities here as well, particularly for the companies that can rapidly offer perfectly matched subsystems or complete system solutions. Chinese OEMs are happy to rely on qualified suppliers to provide comprehensive solutions with global footprint. This also includes competencies such as the integration of systems at the vehicle level, such as designing and supplying a complete driveline for a passenger vehicle. Ultimately, the competitiveness of a modern automotive supplier depends on a committed and highly qualified team that can demonstrate a high level of efficiency thanks to broad authority to make decisions.

Strength in China is positive for global market

Strength in China is positive for global market

I am convinced that e-mobility is an unstoppable force and will become the norm. As an international mobility provider, ZF has the opportunity to respond to the trend by offering intelligent solutions. In China – one of the most important hubs for e-mobility – multinational automotive groups and suppliers with Chinese employees have the expertise and potential to successfully compete with local competitors. This will require swift transformation to achieve high level of agility and competitiveness in terms of technology offer and cost. A strong position in the Chinese market certainly means entails numerous advantages for international players, even on global market.