Global Perspectives: Electric Industry Trends

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During the International Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS29), four influential members of the industry spoke about the direction their companies will take over the next few years.

Industry leaders discussed trends at the roundtable following an announcement from Pierre Arcand, Quebec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, about the launch of charging stations on Highways 20 and 40. Glen Murray, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, discussed the charging structures trends and other commitments.

Industry representatives spoke with Dan Neil, Auto Columnist at The Wall Street Journal, about the direction their manufacturing company will be taking in the near future.

The four panellists were Kevin Layden, Director of Electrification Programs and Engineering at the Ford Motor Company, Christopher Huss, Vice President of Engineering at BMW of North America, Michael Lord, Executive Engineer at Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing, and Kazuo Yajima, Alliance Global Director of the EV and HEV Engineering Division of Nissan and Renault.

Industry trends
After a short presentation on the major manufacturers’ research and development results, panellists shared some personal insights before describing the exactdirection that their manufacturing company will take, which revealed real trends in the industry.

Kevin Layden, who said that Tesla has done a great job of promoting and developing electrical vehicle autonomy in the industry, believes that Ford will focus on plug-in electric vehicles, based on the success of the manufacturer’s C-Max and Fusion Energi and the interest consumers have shown in these products.

Christopher Huss is concerned about educating consumers. He thinks that electric vehicles should evolve with home systems. Claiming that the BMW i3 should be just as popular as Tesla, he predicts that change will be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

Hydrogen power
According to Michael Lord from Toyota, the Japanese manufacturer is very interested in using hydrogen to power electric vehicles. In fact, he thinks that hydrogen could be a universal solution for consumers who want to fuel their electric cars. In response to consumer concerns to that an electric vehicle takes too long to charge, he insists that a vehicle like the Toyota Mirai can be refueled in only three minutes.

Finally, Kazuo Yajima touted the merits and successes of Nissan products, especially the Leaf. He also mentioned that the manufacturer is becoming slightly impatient with the slow government response to the needs of electric vehicle users. He ended the discussion by stating his faith in autonomy and electrification as the way of the future.

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