Posted on 3/3/2021

Industry 4.0 can play a key role in the electric vehicle revolution

Mike Szudarek

In the automotive world, much of the latest news has been focused on the trends toward automakers committing to electric vehicles.        

General Motors is envisioning an all-electric future, committing to 30 new global electric vehicles by 2025 as it targets a zero-emissions future.

There are also reports that by the middle of this decade, a transformative moment for new, ultrapowerful batteries is being promised — powering EVs that will cost around the same as conventional gasoline-driven vehicles, travel far greater distance, and charge fast.

These commitments to EVs are supported now by the White House, as President Joe Biden recently announced a plan to replace the entire federal government fleet of autos with electric vehicles.

In the U.S. alone, EV sales are expected to reach 6.9 million by 2025, a five-fold growth from 2020. Globally, that number is estimated at 34 million by 2025, 121.2 million by 2030 and 636.7 million by 2040.

As the automotive industry moves forward with this seismic shift toward greener vehicles and EVs, as well as autonomous vehicles in tandem, it presents an excellent opportunity for Industry 4.0 to shine and play a major role in this transformation. The opportunity is simply too big to ignore, especially since the technology of Industry 4.0 is one of the main reasons this transformation is able to happen in the first place.

By adapting to the new reality of the automotive industry in the years to come, businesses in fields including data management, robotics, smart factories, the Internet of Things, and 3-D printing/additive manufacturing can assert themselves as key players in this new EV-focused world.

As consumer tastes change, the production process and how vehicles are designed and built will also change. The traditional factory will forever by transformed. The process will become more connected, and it will be smarter. There will also be more data to manage, as most electric vehicles will also be autonomous to some degree. And more parts will be produced through technologies like 3-D printing.

These technologies and efficiencies will be necessary for the key element of EV success: Bringing down the overall price of EVs so the general public is more likely to buy them.

The World Economic Forum highlights some of the movement taking place in the adaptation of Industry 4.0. Much of this advancement has come during the COVID-19 pandemic, as improvements to sustainability and competitiveness were the only option.

While the exact timeline of when EVs will become the norm may still be extended, the reality is that automakers and supporting Industry 4.0 businesses who recognize this future and  embrace the new reality of automotive manufacturing are setting themselves up for long-term success.

About the Author

Mike Szudarek | Marx Layne & Company

Mike Szudarek leads Marx Layne & Company’s automotive practice and has more than two decades of experience counseling clients in the automotive and technology sectors. He previously served with a Fortune 500 company and has been on both the corporate and agency side of the communications business, understanding first-hand the many issues and challenges businesses face. He has experience working with OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, and aftermarket industries, in addition to a specialization in mobility and autonomous driving. Szudarek holds memberships with the Automotive Press Association and the Public Relations Society of America. Marx Layne & Company has more than three decades of experience guiding businesses large and small through crises, communications outreach and digital/social media campaigns.


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