Suppliers strike deals in effort to expand electric vehicle knowledge

31 October 2018

31 October 2018

Vehicle parts supplier ZF has taken a 35% stake in ASAP Holding as it looks to broaden its knowledge of electric vehicle (EV) technology.

The German business develops gearboxes and clutch components amongst other things, areas that would be redundant under an electric future. In order to remain relevant in a changing market, the company has purchased its stake in an engineering services provider that specialises in electrified mobility, autonomous driving and connected vehicles.

′As an established development partner, ASAP Group has extensive expertise in the areas of autonomous driving, e-mobility, connected cars and vehicle software,’ says Torsten Gollewski, general manager of Zukunft Ventures GmbH and head of ZF’s Advanced Development department. ′This participation allows us access to human resources from an outstanding engineering services provider with extensive industry experience and special expertise in testing and validation. We look forward to working with the team at ASAP to develop forward-looking mobility solutions for series production.’

CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider said last month at the Hanover commercial vehicles show that the company would be investing a total of €12 billion in those technologies over the next five years. The project includes developing a battery-powered delivery van that can drive on its own.

ZF is developing products for electrified vehicles ranging from passenger cars to vans to heavy commercial vehicles, including electric axles and transmissions for electric drive.

BASF signs deal

BASF has selected Harjavalta, Finland, as the first location for battery materials production serving the European automotive market. The plant will be constructed adjacent to the nickel and cobalt refinery owned by Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel).

This investment is part of BASF’s €400 million multi-step investment plan announced last year and builds upon initial battery materials production started in Harjavalta in 2018. Start-up is planned for late 2020, enabling the supply of approximately 300,000 fully electric vehicles per year with BASF battery materials. The new plant in Harjavalta will utilise locally generated renewable energy sources, including hydro, wind and biomass.

Additionally, BASF and Nornickel have signed a long-term, market-based supply agreement for nickel and cobalt feedstocks from Nornickel’s metal refinery. The agreement will establish a locally sourced and secure supply of raw materials for battery production in Europe.

The co-location of BASF’s new plant and Nornickel’s metal refinery in Harjavalta will enable unparalleled access to a local nickel and cobalt supply,’ said Jeffrey Lou, Senior Vice President, Battery Materials at BASF. ′Our high-nickel cathode materials are key to deliver enhanced energy density and vehicle range to our customers. With this world-scale production facility, BASF will be able to serve the European e-mobility growth strategies of key OEMs and cell suppliers with reliable supply and close collaboration.’