A Roadmap to EV Commercialization and Compliance Success

A Guide for Electric Vehicle Innovators

Product Development Obstacles In EV Manufacturing

Enhancing Visibility Across the EV Supply Chain

Managing Greater Product Complexity

Compared to the traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle, an EV requires on average 80% fewer parts. Yet, there are key components which add to the complexity of its design, one being the battery. The battery poses several challenges, as it determines the vehicle’s driving range, charging capacity, safety, and cost—key factors that greatly influence consumers’ decision to purchase. Manufacturers must take these features into consideration as they look to optimize the EV design and attract new buyers.

Consumers are also wanting to accessorize their EVs with a wide range of smart, connected features such as self-driving technology, voice assistants, and adaptive cruise control with lane assist. To meet these demands and stand out from the competition, manufacturers must manage more sophisticated designs with the integration of advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors, and artificial intelligence (AI).

Achieving Regulatory Compliance

As the adoption of electric transportation becomes more widespread and new EV technologies emerge, global regulations are being established to ensure product reliability and address environmental impact.

Safety and Information Security
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have published several standards, including ISO 6469, to enforce protection against electrical hazards and system failures. Guidelines for information security management (i.e., ISO/IEC 27000) have also been introduced to address the Internet of Things (IoT), charging infrastructure, and other underlying technologies that may pose cybersecurity or privacy risks.

Charging and Communication
ISO 15118 provides protocols for bidirectional communication between the EV and charging station so that drivers can simply plug in the vehicle and charge without having to worry about cards, apps, or PINs for authentication and billing. Additionally, the different modes for EV conductive charging systems are outlined in IEC 61851.

Achieving Regulatory Compliance

Quality Management
Although the ISO 9001 standard is not specific to electric transportation, companies across many industries use it as the basis for implementing a quality system to drive continuous improvement and increase customer satisfaction. 

Environmental Compliance
Environmental regulations such as Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) limit the use of certain hazardous materials for the manufacture of products. Other regulations such as the EU Battery Directive, EU End of Life Vehicle (ELV) Directive, and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) require manufacturers to ensure proper reuse, recycling, or disposal of certain parts and materials once they reach end of life. 

When it comes to environmental compliance, documentation and tracking of the components and raw materials that are used for production must occur throughout the entire lifecycle. Responsible sourcing and reporting of conflict minerals such as cobalt and lithium for battery production is also necessary to demonstrate due diligence. 

Navigating Supply Chain Challenges

To accelerate time to market (TTM), EV manufacturers are having to reevaluate how they interact with and manage their supply chain. 

The high demand for semiconductor chips and other critical electronic components across various sectors has forced manufacturers to contend with extended lead times and shortages. This is further compounded by the frequent supply chain disruptions that result from pandemics, natural disasters, and other unforeseen events. 

EV battery supply chains especially are negatively impacted due to the environmental and ethical concerns associated with sourcing key raw materials such as cobalt and lithium. Cobalt mining is concentrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which accounts for 65% of the global supply5. Various reports link the DRC’s mining industry to hazards such as forced labor and poor working conditions6. 

In light of these supply chain obstacles, EV manufacturers must adopt new sourcing strategies and supply chain communication methods to help mitigate risks. 

Sourcing Strategies to Consider

  • Diversify your supply chain
    Having multiple suppliers across different geographical locations enables you to secure critical parts when faced with sudden disruptions. In addition, choosing suppliers that are in proximity of the EV production site helps you avoid supply chain logistics issues stemming from natural disasters and other regional incidents.
  • Bring production processes in-house
    By leveraging robotics, automation, and other advanced platforms to assemble some EV components in-house, you’ll gain greater control over production planning and product quality.
  • Partner with manufacturing specialists
    Building alliances with electronic manufacturing service (EMS) providers and other EV production experts gives you access to the dedicated facilities, equipment, and processes that are needed to accelerate product launches and set yourself apart from the competition. 
  • Adopt more sustainable sourcing practices
    In lieu of cobalt, consider more sustainable and ethically sourced raw materials such as manganese and iron for EV battery production. Also look at recycling old batteries to help reduce the cost and environmental impact of mining or importing raw materials.

Enhancing Visibility Across the EV Supply Chain
Because OEMs are relying more heavily on global contract manufacturers and multitiered suppliers to fulfill their EV sourcing needs, it becomes difficult to keep everyone connected and on the same page. Many OEMs are accustomed to using ad hoc systems such as email and spreadsheets to communicate and exchange product information. Since these systems are not tied directly to the product record, they make it difficult for teams to identify the latest design changes or have complete visibility into production errors, part shortages, and other issues that cause product delays. Consequently, EV manufacturers need a centralized system for internal teams and external supply chain partners to collaborate in real time and drive greater transparency.