Carlson speaking at MBS Joe Wilssens Photography

Carlson speaking at MBS.

Expert Sees Electric-Vehicle Growth Charging Ahead

Denso’s Denise Carlson says GM, Nissan and Tesla are the primary EV producers, but European automakers such as Audi, BMW and Jaguar “are taking Tesla seriously,” as are Ford and other Asian automakers.

Global electric vehicle sales reached a modest 800,000 in 2016, but within 10 years could climb to 2 million.

That’s not a forecast but it’s a potential scenario as delivered by Denise Carlson, a speaker at the recent CAR Management Briefing Seminars here. She is vice president- North American Production Innovation Center (NAPIC) planning and NAPIC materials engineering groups at Denso International America.

General Motors, Nissan and Tesla are the primary EV manufacturers, but Carlson says European automakers such as Audi, BMW and Jaguar “are taking Tesla seriously,” as are Ford and other Asian automakers.

Carlson says Denso is transitioning from serving mainly as a supplier to a service organization as well. “We’re seeing an increasing emphasis on mobility, electrification, connected vehicles, autonomous vehicles and vehicle sharing,” she observes, adding North America is leading in autonomous vehicles and connectivity.

“Denso is going to compete in non-traditional fields” as well as traditional ones, she says, indicating it will pursue opportunities on the service side such as diagnostics.

Japan-based Denso, known best as a supplier of electrical and electronic components and systems to the auto industry, employs 17,000 people at 24 U.S. manufacturing locations.

Denso invests 9% of its annual revenues in R&D, or $3.6 billion, she says, a hefty sum to commit to future developments. It also is working with high-tech companies and universities, she points out.

EVs may not dominate until midcentury because “There is still a lot of ICE (internal combustion engine) capacity out there. Costs will become optimal because there is going to be a different value chain as automakers switch (some production) from ICEs to EVs,” Carlson says.

Looking at mobility, she suggests the full impact of ride-sharing won’t show up until 2030.

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