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If you’re not already in the battery electric vehicle (BEV) market, you need to consider it; the potential increase in tooling demand is too great to ignore and so too are the risks.

That was the advice provided by industry experts to tooling shops serving the North American automotive industry during PwC’s 25th edition of the Automotive Tooling Seminar, hosted virtually recently .

“You have to be aware of the potential increase in tooling demand and opportunities as BEVs come into play. Internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles are not going away but if you’re looking at BEVs, you’ve just increased your potential market quoting opportunities by quite a bit,” said Cara Walton, director of Harbour Results Inc., a research firm that conducts quarterly surveys on the automotive tooling market on both sides of the border.

Of the 130 major vehicle sources for tooling spend in North America by 2025, Walton expects 35 of them to be BEVs.

The growing number of BEV introductions expected over the next 10 years while OEMs also continue to produce ICE vehicles for the foreseeable future places OEMs is a low volume-high mix production scenario that is potentially positive from a tooling perspective. But it bears watching.

“It’s something to watch closely to make sure the OEMs are consistently making money. OEMs are going to be very cautious about how much money they are going to be able to make off the launch of BEVs. What we have to watch very closely in the tooling industry is what that does from a trim level perspective,” explained Walton.

Trim options will certainly be impacted in the transition from ICE vehicles to BEVs. For example, a traditional Ford 150 may have three cab variations, three box sizes, seven trim levels, six engine/battery options and two drivetrain options. But a BEV version of the F150 will likely have one cab offering, one box offering, two trim levels, two engine/battery options and one drivetrain option. The impact on tooling is significant: From $700M for the internal combustion engine F150 to just $200M for the BEV version.

“This isn’t intended to strike fear in you because as we go forward OEMs launching BEVs will likely increase trim levels as we get consumer adoption. Frankly, this is a positive sign for tooling because it means right now we are going to continue launching multiple trim levels (for ICE vehicles) and we are also going to launch trim levels for BEVs,” said Walton.

BEVs also present significant component changes for tooling. Engines, transmissions, exhaust systems, axles and suspensions, grilles and fascia will be different. There will likely also be changes to the interior of the vehicle and the addition of more camera and sensors and the use of more exotic materials. New components to be added include the battery tray, electric motors, single speed gearboxes, charging ports and a greater number of ECUs.

The challenges posed by the transition to BEVs are an opportunity tool shops need to seize, was the advice of Giancarlo Di Maio, partner, tax services, PWC.

“Please don’t wait for your stakeholders – your employees, suppliers and investors – to make noise. Take control of your narrative,” Di Maio urged.


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