Class 3-8 Hybrid and Electric Vehicles: NA Supply Chain Assessment Report: Gap Analysis

The Chart below depicts the distribution of gap statements obtained from 100s of open-ended conversations with sources from 2013 through July 2018.  Please note that: a) double counting occurs because individual gap statements by sources may cover more than a single category; and b) it follows that the percentages add up to more than 100% because gap statements can cover more than a single category. In this way, the bias is toward inclusion rather than exclusion of perspectives across gap statements, and all data is consistently sorted.

Synthesis has endeavored to ensure every source statement about a supply chain concern or gap is represented in every category that it is relevant to. Statements by sources were not fit into pre-set categories, but rather were applied to as many relevant categories as considered reasonable. Additional information regarding Synthesis’ in-depth interviews, communications with sources and corresponding gap research findings is available, consistent with source confidentiality agreements.

Chart: Frequency of NA Class 3-8 HEV and PEV Supply Chain Gap Statements,
By Main Topic: 2013 to Present

Based on frequency of occurrence, Batteries represent the most important category of gaps, followed by topics that are essentially equal based on frequency of occurrence: Inverters, Motors and “Other” gap statements. 

The “Other” category addresses gap statements about manufacturability, public incentives and subsidies, regulation, standards, costs, materials and software (among other topics).

A further assessment of the gap statements is provided in Figure 10.  It shows how each main gap category includes several sub-topics, which are raised by sources with varying frequency.  Figure 10 is the basis of the summary conclusions reported on gaps in the NA Class 3-8 HEV and PEV supply chain.

Figure 10: Drill Down Analysis of Gap Statements, By Top-Level Categories and Sub-Topic Frequency: 2013-July 30, 2018*

  • Note: The “Other” sub-topic includes discussion of public incentives and subsidies, regulation and other cross-disciplinary topics.

The following findings are plausible based on the comprehensive gap statement data reviewed during this work.  Synthesis analysts based their conclusions on qualitative judgments of the underlying quantified data. 

Specifically, the analysis below is based on the understanding that significance of gaps can be valued based on frequency of source statements.  This does not mean that individual, low frequency gap statements were not given careful consideration.  In certain contexts, the significance of less frequently occurring gap statements can be high.  Synthesis analysts weighed all of the information collected about every gap statement (e.g., including source, context, specificity, timing, relevance to other gaps) in order to reach a reasonable and approximately accurate result as outlined below.

Findings:

  1. Batteries appear to be the most important field of gaps in the Class 3-8 HEV and PEV NA supply chain.
  2. After Batteries, the next priority category of gaps includes Inverter, Motor and Other Gap statements.  These three fields of gap statements appear to be similar in significance based on frequency.
  3. Converter gap statements emerge as the least significant in terms of frequency of occurrence.
  4. Drilling down within the Battery gap category, one finds that the majority of concerns or gap statements relate to “Other.”  To help clarify “Other” gap statements include statements such as:
    1. “Lithium-ion manufacturing continues to be based on the same equipment used originally for the manufacture of cassette tapes”;
    1. “Battery plants are of much greater scale, depressing prices ever further”; and
    1. “Engineering and infrastructure firms need to be given significant roles in innovating solutions.” 
  5. Across all major components – Batteries, Motors, Inverters and Converters – the existence of many “Other” gap statements reflects the diffuse and deep range of gap topics and suggests the need for more attention on such “Other” statements to help define, develop and execute a proactive and strategic response.
  6. Materials represent an important category of gaps in Batteries and reflect the ongoing need for fundamental materials science for better catalysts and electrolytes.
  7. Across Batteries, Motors, and Inverters, the core question of how to engineer solutions that maximize performance at competitive costs remains the topic of most general concern.  This is reflected in the data that shows across all main topic areas except Converters, the Engineering and Cost gap topics are represented with highest or near-highest frequency.
  8. In Motors, Inverters and Converters, the least important topics are Standards, Software and Materials.  This suggests that with regard to HEV and PEV Class 3-8 suppliers of Motors, Inverters and Converters, the first priority gaps they are addressing relate to Engineering, Costs and/or Other topics. 
  9. Finally, in batteries, the role of standards is considered a worthy area of attention as a gap- though certainly not as significant as Engineering, Costs, Materials and Other areas in the battery development domain.

Class 3-8 Hybrid & Electric Vehicles: Supply Chain Assessment Report (2019)

Introduction

Gap Analysis

Final Recommendations and Conclusions

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