Germany’s BENTELER has a long history. It was founded 140 year ago as a small ironmongers in the city of Bielefeld. It’s subsequently grown into a global enterprise with nearly 100 offices in around 30 countries.
It’s now looking to the future by offering e-mobility services to its customers. But what it doesn’t want to be is a car manufacturer.
That’s according to Marco Kollmeier, BENTELER Automotive VP of The Business Unit E-Mobility. He tells Auto Futures: “Although it looks like we are able to build full electric vehicles…we don’t want to become an OEM.”
In 2019, BENTELER unveiled its Electric Drive System 2.0 – a rolling chassis that was developed in partnership with Bosch. The platform is scaleable and modular and allows OEMs to set-up fast and cost efficient EV manufacturing.
This eco-system has just been joined by Italy’s Pininfarina S.p.A.
“Together we are able to design and engineer, partially also to manufacture, electric vehicles for the customer,” says Kollmeier.
Silvio Pietro Angori, CEO of Pininfarina S.p.A. states: “During our 90-year history, our company has always strived to achieve the right balance between emotions and what makes sense from a technical standpoint. By combining our design and engineering philosophy with the rolling chassis developed by BENTELER and Bosch, we are even further enhancing our core beliefs into the era of e-mobility.”
Kollmeier adds: “Manufacturers of electric vehicles, especially companies that want to enter the e-mobility market, will benefit from the collaboration. They can build upon the standardized interfaces that we have defined together with Pininfarina S.p.A., integrating the upper body structure with the chassis.”
In September 2019, BENTELER won its first clients for the rolling chassis. BENTELER is now supporting the sports car manufacturer Automobili Pininfarina.
In addition, BENTELER is cooperating with Evergrande. The Chinese real estate company entered the market for electric vehicles in early 2019.
At CES in Las Vegas, Sony surprised the media and attendees by unveiling the Vision S – its own prototype electric car.
Sony President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida greeted show attendees on stage and said: “It’s not an exaggeration to say that mobile has been the mega-trend of the last decade. I believe the next mega-trend will be mobility.”
BENTELER was one of eleven partners to support Sony in the development of this concept car. “We are still part of this collaboration and still in contact. Whatever Sony has, from the strategic side, in mind, we will support them in them also in the future,” says Kollmeier.
“30% of the cars produced will be electrified.”
Kollmeier strongly believes that collaborations and partnership such as its one with Pininfarina S.p.A are the way forward in the new era of e-mobility.
“It is a way to speed up, if you join forces with partners in a shared economy instead of inventing everything in-house and building up competencies on your own.”
He adds: “In a collaboration network you stick to your core competencies where you are best in-class and then add other performance partners with their own competencies who are also best in-class.”
E-mobility is not a new market for BENTELER. In fact it’s been offering services for the past ten years. But it is becoming more important as the market grows. Last year the company doubled the number of employees in this unit compared to the previous year.
“E-mobility is, for us, an interesting market and an interesting opportunity to grow and of course to support our customers in the movement.”
Looking to the future, Kollmeier predicts a fast-growing market for electric vehicles by 2030 but not as fast as some optimistic forecasts.
“30% of the cars produced will be electrified. This includes full electric and plug-in hybrids. Having 30% electrified, of course, means we have up to 70% with combustion technology or hybrid…so it’s not a black and white scenario.”
He also believes that collaborations will play a big role in the future development of the EV market.
“Partners like Pininfarina S.p.A. and Bosch are not only complementing our competencies. By joining forces for the development process, we can also help car manufacturers bring their products to market much faster and more efficiently than they have in the past.”