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  • Diego García

Transition to E-mobility: Challenges and opportunities in electric powertrain manufacturing

The automotive landscape is undergoing a radical transformation with the arrival of electromobility. This change, while positive in terms of sustainability, poses significant challenges for companies, especially those Tier 1 and Tier 2 companies specializing in machined components for traditional powertrains.


Challenges for the Mexican industry


According to information from the National Auto Parts Institute of November 2023, the transition to electric powertrain manufacturing implies an 80% reduction in traditionally machined components. This directly impacts the Mexican industry's production and supply chain. It is estimated that out of 2,000 metal-mechanical components in the internal combustion powertrain, only around 200 will be needed in the electric powertrain.


Comparison of the number of metal-mechanical components in internal combustion powertrain vs electric powertrain
Comparison of the number of metal-mechanical components in internal combustion powertrain (left) vs. electric powertrain (right)


In addition, the new rules of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) have intensified the pressure on companies to adapt to stricter standards of sustainability and production efficiency. This requires a major overhaul of manufacturing practices and rapid adoption of electric powertrain technologies.


For companies, this challenge involves rethinking their processes to take advantage of their current installed capacity in component machining. Also, making this transition requires investment in machinery for the new processes involved in electric powertrain manufacturing.


Emerging opportunities


Despite the challenges, the shift to electric powertrain manufacturing also presents strategic opportunities for Mexican companies that redirect their processes. This shift can add greater value to their production lines. According to the National Auto Parts Institute, the electric powertrain market is estimated to grow from 30,000 million USD in 2022 to 100,000 million USD in 2027.



Investment in New Technologies


Electric Motor Assembly:


To remain competitive, companies should consider implementing specialized lines for electric motor manufacturing. This includes lines for the manufacture of stator pins, crucial for the assembly of the motor's moving parts, and dedicated lines for the assembly of rotors and complete motors.


FELSOMAT electric motor assembly line
FELSOMAT electric motor assembly line

 

Electric Batteries:


Batteries are essential components of electric vehicles and require extremely precise manufacturing to ensure performance and safety. Companies can invest in forming presses to mold battery trays, specialized washing equipment to ensure they meet cleanliness specifications, and metrology solutions such as optical scanning equipment to ensure they meet quality standards before final assembly, or X-ray equipment to non-destructively check the condition and composition of batteries.


PROCECO battery tray washer for electric vehicles
PROCECO battery tray washer for electric vehicles

 

Component Machining:


Although the transition to electromobility reduces the amount of machined components, there is still significant demand for certain types of parts. Components such as pinion shafts, rotor shafts, stator housings and clutch gears will continue to be manufactured on cnc lathes and turn-mill centers. Modernizing existing machinery and acquiring new technologies to improve machining accuracy and efficiency will be vital for companies seeking to remain relevant in the electric powertrain supply chain.




Machining of pinion shaft on INDEX machine
Machining of pinion shaft on INDEX machine


When and how to make these investments effectively?


To make effective investments in electric vehicle manufacturing technology, it is crucial to consider both the right timing and implementation strategy. According to experts, the best time to invest is when there is a combination of growing market demand and availability of government incentives.


Partnerships with organizations such as regional clusters, AMIA (Mexican Automotive Industry Association), and INA (National Auto Parts Industry) can be useful allies in obtaining information about the Mexican market and accessing business opportunities.


Conclusion


The transition to electromobility represents a significant challenge for the Mexican automotive industry, but also offers important opportunities. The key to a successful adaptation will be to invest in new technologies and redirect production processes to remain competitive in a constantly evolving sector.


With a well-informed strategy, in terms of demand, available incentives, and emerging business opportunities, Mexican companies can thrive in a market increasingly focused on electric mobility.


It is worth mentioning that while demand in the North American market continues to grow, companies can explore business opportunities in Europe, where the adoption of electric cars and electromobility in general has advanced significantly, offering a window of opportunity to expand and consolidate in both regions.


If you would like to learn more about the brands and solutions we offer for electric powertrain manufacturing, we invite you to review the links below:


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