Collaboration critical to the success of electric vehicle industry

Collaboration is critical if the global electric vehicles industry is to fulfill its potential, according to participants of Ernst & Young's 'Ignition Sessions', a global series of executive round tables attended by key stakeholders from across the electric vehicle value chain.

According to Gil Forer, Ernst & Young Global Cleantech leader, ''After several decades of stops and starts, the electric vehicle industry is poised to fulfill its promise. To do so, forging creative partnerships and business models will be critical for sustainable, long-term success. Stakeholders will need to embrace new business models and look for solutions beyond borders, in order to build critical mass and leverage this significant opportunity as we strive to achieve a more resource efficient and low carbon economy.''

Due to major strides by battery makers, big stimulus money for cleantech innovation, car makers shifting focus and governments starting to set standards, as well as increased consumer demand, the pace of change has increased significantly recently.

Key milestones in the second half of 2010 include the forthcoming introduction of the mass market Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf electric vehicles (EVs) and China's completion of construction of its largest EV charging station. The momentum is expected to continue with over a dozen battery electric vehicles slated to arrive between 2010 and 2013 from incumbent automakers such as Ford, Mitsubishi and Renault and new entrants including Tesla, BYD and Coda Automotive.

Mike Hanley, Ernst & Young Global Automotive Leader, comments, ''The automotive industry is poised for the evolution to increasingly electrified powertrain technologies; to facilitate this transition the traditional automotive industry, new automotive market entrants, utilities, regulators and government agencies must collaborate effectively to take advantage of the opportunities and to make the entire consumer experience seamless.''

Market drivers vary regionally. In Europe, take-up triggers include EV availability, pricing, convenience, safety and sustainability; commercial fleets are likely to be the first adopters. In the US the economics and availability of EVs are key drivers but early-adopting consumers are likely to play a key role. In China, by contrast, the primary driving force is the government's desire to reduce oil consumption and curtail pollution.