What is the role of alternative fuels in future automotive?
A wholesale shift to alternative energy is required for most modes of transport, particularly in Europe, over the next decade. The complexities of widely varying consumer preferences and behaviours, as well as disparities in the roll-out of charging infrastructure, dictate that a broad portfolio of fuels and energy sources will be required.
Alternative energy technologies offer significant growth opportunities for those suppliers able to pivot, or investors seeking significant returns, although potential pitfalls exist. OEMs must consider how to maximise return on their internal combustion engine assets whilst shifting to alternative energy in parallel. Policy makers are certainly considering ‘which horse to back’ when it comes to infrastructure development and standardisation.
How do automotive companies need to tackle the sustainability challenge?
At the same time as a shift to zero emissions at point of use, all parts of the supply chain will encounter increasing pressures to reduce carbon emissions from their products and operations. Carbon neutrality will become a differentiator, then soon afterwards a hygiene factor.
This will present cost challenges in the short term at a time where margins are being squeezed from all directions. Suppliers must consider how to leverage their resources and brand to deliver increased value to clients through this difficult transition phase.
What international role will the UK play in the automotive industry in the future?
The UK is a ‘hotbed’ for future mobility technology development, with a unique combination of academic & industrial R&D, advanced manufacturing and high-technology engineering expertise across multiple sectors.
As a leader in the development of high power-density batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, advanced combustion systems and the industrial-scale process technologies that are required to manufacture efficiently at scale, the UK will remain a critical and growing part of the automotive supply chain for the foreseeable future. Significant efforts to reduce material, labour and energy content through collaborative research will continue as part of efforts to reduce technology cost, a key enabler for mass adoption and global competitiveness.