electric cars: new automotive suppliers on the scene

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The whole world is talking about electric cars and autonomous driving. How the future will actually look, of course, remains to be seen. There are still too many unknowns in the details – from power supply to legal issues.

New clean combustion engines will also play a role as hybrids. One thing is certain, however: In the mix of offers, all vehicles will probably be more or less electrified.

No electric car without automotive suppliers

Today’s vehicle is becoming an electric car. A challenge for automotive suppliers, who will have to adapt to completely new functions, components and systems. Even though it’s still in its infancy, the electric car is already forcing automotive suppliers to position themselves.

No electric car without automotive suppliers: The shares of manufacturers of important components have considerable potential. But as the industry changes, the balance shifts. So with the battery producers and their raw material suppliers, new names keep appearing. And some who have been further down the supply chain are increasingly moving to the forefront.

For example, the semiconductor manufacturer Infineon. The DAX-listed company is now regarded as the central supplier of control mechanisms, chips and sensors that make e-mobility and autonomous driving with assistance systems possible in the first place. Even simple electric cars need twice as many semiconductors as conventional vehicles.

The automotive industry accounts for a good half of Group sales. Tesla also runs on Infineon chips. Its success and the electric car quota in China play into the hands of the group. The chips also ensure that batteries can be built cheaply, are compact, have a long range and can be charged quickly.

Ingredients for the battery

In addition to copper, cobalt and graphite, energy storage systems primarily require lithium. The chemical element is used for a wide variety of applications and plays a key role in battery systems, with a share of over 30%. The U.S. company Albermarle is the dominant supplier in the soaring demand for lithium carbonate. The chemical group expects to claim a good half of the growth market for itself.

In the growing demand for cobalt and copper, the Swiss commodities giant Glencore plays a decisive role. Batteries will account for around one-fifth of global demand for cobalt in the foreseeable future. Glencore is one of the largest suppliers.

The Australian mining company Syrah Resources, in turn, is one of the main beneficiaries of the graphite boom. In every battery, the anode, roughly speaking the positive terminal, consists largely of graphite. Syrah Resources owns one of the most important graphite deposits and is the subject of interest from institutional investors.

Components, systems and complete powertrains

An exciting supplier that is not yet on the radar of many is the mechanical engineering company Aumann from Beelen near Munster, Germany. MBB’s subsidiary is growing thanks to its focus on electromobility and has been listed in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since March of this year. The IPO was a complete success. Profit growth alone is estimated at 34% for next year. Aumann is on course for the future with technologies for manufacturing electric motors.

In addition to the companies mentioned, several others also play a role, of course. In semiconductors, for example, Nvidia, but also Hella, which is commonly associated with lighting systems. From this area, the company from Lippstadt has developed control units, sensors, actuators and assistance systems for steering, parking aids or lane changes.

Apart from that, of course, players like Bosch, Continental or Valeo are also on board. Bosch, which has long been building components for e-cars, now wants to offer a complete drive system. The target group includes start-ups that want to bring their own electric cars to market quickly. The company is thus breaking away from its previous focus on BMW, Daimler or VW. Bosch is the world’s largest supplier in terms of sales, but it is a GmbH (limited liability company).

Among other things, Continental is working on new vehicle platforms, such as wireless charging, a digital cockpit, and brake and air suspension systems. The Group is also working closely with leading automakers on intelligent transportation systems and automated driving. The Paris-based supplier Valeo is also successfully active in this area. Whereas the Valeo share price was around €3 in 2009, today it stands at almost €60.

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