Opportunities in the automotive supply chain from the shift to electrification will be the focus of debate at The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Open Forum, taking place today at Automechanika Birmingham. Vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and innovators will come together to discuss key issues, in particular battery design and development.
Delegates will hear from experts at Bosch, the Faraday Institution, Unipart, Yasa Motors and Autocraft Solutions, while McLaren Automotive will deliver the keynote address. The manufacturer’s Commercial Director (Supply Chain), Daniel Scaglione, will speak about the company’s Track25 business and sourcing strategy and its investment in advanced materials to reduce overall vehicle weight that goes hand-in-hand with its move to 100% hybrid sportscars and supercars by 2024. He will also share insight on how suppliers can partner with the firm through its next phase of growth.
The UK is well placed to be a global leader in the development of the next generation of battery technology, thanks to close collaboration between industry, adjacent sectors and government. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, recently announced a £28 million investment to support the development of battery technology at the new Coventry Battery Industrialisation Centre, targeted as a centre of excellence and creating highly skilled jobs and delivering practical training to workers.
The commitment is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy’s Challenge Fund and comes on top of an initial £80 million investment in the centre. With propulsion systems representing up to 50% of the value of a vehicle, there is a considerable prize for the UK, if it is able to position itself at the forefront of developing the next generation of low carbon, including electric, powertrains.
With the shift to vehicle electrification well underway globally, there is a requirement for significant battery manufacturing capacity to support future electric vehicle (EV) production. Brexit notwithstanding, a forecast for EV production in the UK alone provides enough demand for approximately eight battery giga-factories by 2040.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The UK already makes some of the best-selling electric cars and taxis on the market and industry is leading the charge to vehicle electrification, investing in new technology to create ever more advanced and efficient models. The future opportunities for suppliers and manufacturers from this seismic shift are dramatic, and the UK is well placed to benefit so long as the right economic and political conditions exist. Events such as SMMT Open Forum are also essential to help create new opportunities for growth.”
Ruth Nic Aoidh, Executive Director, Commercial and Legal, McLaren Automotive, said, “As we move towards 100% hybrid sportscars and supercars by 2024, in parallel it’s clear we also need to develop innovative lightweighting techniques and technologies to counteract the future, heavier powertrains and unlock the vehicle performance our customers except. As we invest in that area with the intention of winning the new ‘weight race’, we need to work with our supply chain ever more closely to make that vision a reality.”
The confirmed speaker line-up for SMMT Open Forum 2019 includes:
- Daniel Scaglione, Commercial Director (Supply Chain), McLaren Automotive
- Antonio Balboa, Director Bosch Powertrain Solutions, Bosch Mobility Solutions
- Steve Collins, NMCL Automotive Programme Manager, SMMT
- Stephen Gifford, Head of Economics and Market Insights, Faraday Institution
- Carol Burke, MD, Unipart Manufacturing Group
- Chris Harris, CEO, YASA Motors
- Simon Warburton, Group Engineering & Quality Director, Autocraft Solutions
Automechanika Birmingham features SMMT’s flagship Meet the Buyer event, which brings together purchasing heads from vehicle manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers and matches them with component makers of all sizes in one-to-one meetings. SMMT will also be running sessions for attendees on getting ready for Brexit, part of its Brexit Readiness Programme.
This year the event is on 5 June and will see buyers representing some of the UK’s largest automotive firms meet hundreds of representatives of the supply chain. Now in its fourth year, Automechanika Birmingham is the UK’s leading automotive trade fair with more than 500 aftermarket and supply chain exhibitors. It takes place at the NEC Birmingham from 4-6 June 2019, with free entry, and returns in 2021.