New global research commissioned by ABB Robotics and leading industry publication Automotive Manufacturing Solutions, revealed that more than half (59 per cent) of respondents believe the shift to pure electric vehicle production is not achievable within current legislative timelines. The respondents surveyed highlighted challenges in adapting to a new battery supply chain, concerns over high levels of capital investment required, shortages of raw materials, suitable infrastructure and lack of grid capacity.
Although 28 per cent opined that the deadlines were achievable, they also indicated there would be significant challenges, while 18 per cent believed the present targets would never be met. Only 11 per cent believed that all regional targets for EV adoption by 2030 to 2040 were realistic.
“The automotive industry is acutely aware of the stresses and strains involved in meeting the proposed regional timetables for reaching full EV production,” said managing director of ABB Robotics Automotive Business Line, Joerg Reger.
“Automation is key to making production more resilient, efficient and faster to meet these targets, which is why we’re seeing high demand for our robots that specialise in EV powertrain assembly. These solutions radically reduce build times, improve flexibility, further simplify the production process and ultimately drive down production costs.”
The survey also highlighted the challenges involved in adapting to a new battery supply chain, cited as a key barrier by 19 per cent of respondents, while 16 per cent had concerns over the high levels of capital investment required. Shortages of raw materials, suitable infrastructure, and lack of grid capacity were also high on the list of issues yet to be resolved. Elsewhere, the lack of charging infrastructure was quoted as the single biggest constraint to EV adoption by more than a quarter (26 per cent) of those surveyed, while 17 per cent highlighted high vehicle prices as the principal barrier to EV growth.
“This is likely to be the ‘new never normal’, which poses considerable challenges to how quickly the industry can transition to electrification and also wider manufacturing sustainability targets, especially during a period of great economic uncertainty,” said automotive analyst at Automotive Manufacturing Solutions, Daniel Harrison. “Furthermore, within that context, challenges remain in the availability and cost of labour and how quickly large workforces can be reskilled.”
Sustainable manufacturing, a more positive outlook
When questioned about delivering sustainable manufacturing, industry leaders were more positive, with 80 per cent predicting sustainability is achievable. Only four per cent felt it would not be possible.
Of people surveyed, only those in America (16 per cent) felt that regulatory compliance was a key obstacle (compared to seven per cent in Europe and five per cent in Asia). However, almost a quarter (24 per cent) of all respondents suggested that the high capital expenditure required was the primary challenge to achieving sustainable manufacturing.
The ABB survey includes close to 600 global industry experts, from vehicle manufacturers, and supplies at all levels of management, engineering and other key professionals throughout the automotive world.
Read more and download the ABB & AMS Automotive Manufacturing Outlook Survey and infographics at https://new.abb.com/products/robotics/initiatives/abb-ams-automotive-manufacturing-outlook-survey