1:00 pm EST – Emobility: What Are We Waiting For? Overcoming Obstacles for Mass Adoption 

A number of obstacles have been preventing widespread adoption of electric mobility, especially in the United States, and automotive OEMs and suppliers must deal realistically with those challenges to form an effective strategy for a projected global increase in electric vehicles, panelists said today at the AutoMobili-D program at the 2019 North American International Auto Show.

In a discussion about “E-Mobility: What Are We Waiting For?” the consensus of panelists was that the auto industry must forge ahead with providing e-mobility solutions to customers worldwide despite these obstacles, and doing so will be one of the most important missions for corporate survival.

A number of forces are driving the auto industry into the electrification era. For example, noted Paul Eichenberg, managing director of Eichenberg Strategic Consulting, “Europe is driving global regulation of CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency.” Other major economies are a full generation behind in their demand regime, including the United States, where the Trump administration in August flattened out future requirements for automakers to cut carbon-dioxide emissions.

Yet, in addition to a “future regulatory environment in the U.S. [that] remains unclear,” the industry is facing two other major obstacles to imminent adoption of e-mobility: range anxiety by consumers, and “persistently low gas prices,” said Sujit Jain, regulatory president of e vehicles in the power train solutions division of supplier Bosch.

Scott Adams, a top e-mobility executive for supplier Eaton, noted that the internal-combustion engine “isn’t going away anytime soon, regardless of the headlines you read.” In fact, the company’s projections call for ICE vehicles to retain a 71-percent share of the global vehicle market in 2030 compared with 88 percent now.

Jon Husby, CEO and president of supplier SEG Automotive, said that the industry isn’t “quite sure how fast and when” widespread adoption of electric vehicles will occur. Questions include how consumers will react to the costs of ownership of EVs compared with ICE vehicles, and limits on the charging infrastructure that is crucial to solving the range-anxiety dilemma.

Hybrid vehicles, he said, will probably be a crucial “bridge” between the era of ICE and all-battery electrics.