Prototyping: How It Can Help EV Makers Solve The Go-To-Market Challenge Today
Three years ago, no analyst could imagine that the electric vehicle (EV) market would ever be worth US$1 trillion. Today, that’s the market capitalization of just one of the companies in this space. Yes, that company is Tesla, and it is arguably the largest in this space – but in the few years it has existed, its position has often been doubted and thought to be in jeopardy.
Today Tesla also holds the flaming torch for a league of new automakers who are in the race to become the second and third leading players in the EV market, born into this space. These aren’t offshoots of established automakers; they’re teams of bold executives and engineers who have found funding and are keen to make a name for themselves.
Frankly speaking, capital hasn’t been hard to find for anyone with a credible business plan and a team worth betting on, in this space. The real challenge is to ‘go-to-market’. Prototyping, getting feedback, and pushing a product to production is hard, but that is what it takes to succeed.
Prototypes pave the way to prosperity
For a majority of the players, the reality is that consumer interest has piqued and those that win a share of the customer’s hearts and wallets will need to strike while the iron is hot. Take Rivian, for example, it’s a leading contender in the EV space right now. The company has a majority of analysts on its side today but just two years ago, that wasn’t the case. They turned the tables when they took concrete steps to prototype their vision and bring it to life.
Rivian’s success might not be easy to replicate – but anyone who wants to try needs to accelerate their development of prototypes.
“A picture is worth a thousand words, a prototype is worth a couple million,” says Advantage Engineering President Steve Hengsperger. Spread over 220,000 sq. ft. in Windsor, Ontario, Hengsperger and his team works with some of the leading players in the automotive space, including up and coming start-ups in the EV market.
Advantage Engineering has great stories to share about their (humble) role in helping EV makers bring some of their greatest innovations into the hands of investors, enthusiasts, analysts, and even customers, over the past decade. The company’s capabilities in bridge tooling, rapid prototyping, and additive manufacturing have served EV makers well, and continue to generate demand from new as well as existing players.
Hengsperger has been observing the EV space carefully. “I love the radical designs that some of these new-age players have put out there – but they need to accelerate prototyping and kickstart production soon if they want to make the most of the opportunity ahead of them.”
Analysts forecast that the EV market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 33.6% from 2020 to 2027 to reach US$2.5 trillion by 2027. In terms of volume, this market is expected to reach 233.9 million units by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 21.7% from 2020.
With those kinds of numbers – and the chance of positive upward revision strong – it seems like Hengsperger is on to something.
Dealing with supply chain issues
Now, one of the biggest challenges for companies in the EV space is the supply chain. The rising costs and lead times [learn more about this from our recent blogpost here] for parts produced overseas, especially in China, has put a lot of strain on companies waiting to get their product in front of investors, analysts, and customers.
This also, of course, affects companies who are awaiting bridge and production tools produced overseas in China so they can start manufacturing their vehicles and making the deliveries they’ve promised.
Those that have the means to produce in North America are struggling with production because the complexities in the supply chain have made it difficult to procure the materials – plastics and metals – they need.
Advantage Engineering is aware of these challenges and has been helping customers deal with them effectively. To EV makers, the company is providing a host of services, including rapid prototyping using innovative technologies, bridge tooling that can support hundreds of thousands of parts, high-quality injection molded and urethane cast parts in record time, among several others.
“More recently, for EV makers (and even other customers) struggling to procure materials that they’ve tested prototypes with – we’re able to tap into our expertise and network to find close alternatives that not only fit their use case but also their budget, creating tight alignment with their specifications and ensuring a great fit overall,” said Hengsperger.
Thanks to the advice and support provided by Advantage Engineering, customers are able to stick to schedules and accelerate their go-to-market, which plays a big role in future success. Full credit, in this case, goes to customers for keeping an open mind and thinking outside the box when working with us and other partners – it’s their solution-mindset, after all, that ultimately gets the job done and the vehicles out on the road.
At the end of the day, North America is a great market for Electric Vehicles (EVs) and those that want to lead in this market need to produce here, and produce now, accelerating their prototyping and production schedules. Always remember Hengsperger’s advice: “a picture is worth a thousand words, a prototype is worth a couple million”.