Thursday, December 22, 2011

No. 1: Competition between electronic parts producers grows hotter in the eco-car business (December 23, 2011)

According to a research company, sales of electronic parts including battery for eco-cars will grow seven times over the level in 2010 to about 3,000 billion yen in 2015. However, it is hardly possible to have presence in the market overnight because security and reliability are the two most important factors for EVs. Nichicon, the leading producer of aluminum electrolytic capacitors, started to develop battery chargers for EVs in alliance with automakers in 2002. The tireless efforts enabled the company to supply its products to Nissan’s Leaf and Mitsubishi’s I-MiEV, and double the operating profit in the second quarter of 2011 over the same period of the previous year.

Electronic parts producers are mostly subcontractors supplying their products to big electronic parts producers like Denso. However, they can be partners in new EV development as a prime contractor if their products are accepted as a major product of a new EV. TDK, the leading producer of ferrite-based products, succeeded in halving the volume of its converter to less than one liter and concluded with Honda to supply its DC-DC converters to Honda’s Insight.  

A gasoline engine vehicle has more than 30,000 parts, while an EV has 30% fewer parts than a gasoline engine vehicle. Worldwide sales of new vehicles are 80 million units annually. Although sales of EVs are still 50,000 units at present, the industrial structure of parts production will face transformation as the EV market grows. Electronic parts products are required to formulate strategy on how to make the best use of their accumulated technologies to survive in the market. 

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