Volvo sends message to suppliers
Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson says that the automaker's decision to electrify all its future powertrains provides a clear message to suppliers.
"They can count on Volvo as a customer," he said, adding that he hopes the Swedish automaker's commitment to electrified powertrains will lure more suppliers to the sector.
"I think we need new players. We need more competition," he said during a press conference Wednesday. "This is a clear sign to other actors in this field, such as battery manufacturers or companies that produce the charging infrastructure, that now is the time to activate investments in this area."
Perhaps Volvo's announcement is just what Robert Bosch needs to commit to becoming a battery cell maker. The world’s largest supplier is mulling whether it wants to compete against Asian heavyweights Panasonic, LG Chem and Samsung in the volatile sector.
It seems like a logical step, especially after Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner told reporters earlier this year: "We are the No. 1 in the market for combustion engine systems and we aim for this spot as a supplier for electromobility."
Volvo's r&d boss Henrik Green declined to say on Wednesday which companies Volvo is considering for its batteries, but he did say that he wants the best technology available. "A key part of being competitive going forward is to always stick with the most successful and innovative [battery] supplier," Green said.
Even if it doesn't become a battery cell maker, Bosch is still poised to profit from the shift toward electrified powertrains. That is also the case for Delphi, BorgWarner, Valeo and Continental, to name a few.
Volvo may be the first automaker to announce its intentions to stop offering traditional gasoline and diesel engines within the next decade. It will not be the last.
You can reach Douglas A. Bolduc at firstname.lastname@example.org.