Post-COVID auto-mobility trends: Any powertrain you want, so long as it’s electric

Par Fathi Tlatli

President Global Sector Auto-Mobility at DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation

It’s been a very difficult year in auto-mobility with far-reaching impacts across the entire global industry. As the world begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, auto makers face a new landscape shaped by several key trends but predominantly by the clear shift towards electrification.

Some such as Ford and Jaguar Land Rover are putting petrol and diesel vehicles in their rear-view mirror before the end of this decade. Customers can have any powertrain they want, so long as it’s electric. And all of the world’s biggest car manufacturers are now working hard to overcome objections and the perceived limitations of electric vehicles (EVs). It’s full speed ahead on EV design and production to extend the electrified mobility offering, while also improving EV range capabilities and expanding the all-important charging network.


Investing wisely

Auto-mobility companies are telling us they must cut costs to compensate for COVID-related expenses and to finance additional EV investment. So this year and beyond, DHL is working closely with OEMs and suppliers to enable cost-reduction initiatives, especially the optimization of the auto-mobility supply chain with better transport planning and improvements in warehouse efficiency. Supporting the anticipated growth in EV sales, we also continue to develop innovative EV logistics solutions across the entire value chain and particularly within emerging markets. And we are rapidly welcoming and building supply chain relationships with a vast range of new market entrants – from new suppliers to specialists in battery recycling and repurposing, and everyone in between.

Investors and consumers are demanding sustainable mobility, and almost all OEMs have set ambitious zero emissions targets – which become effective long before a vehicle is being sold. To help meet our customers’ carbon reduction goals, we offer a range of green logistics solutions and optimized supply chain processes, including route optimization, sustainable packaging, and green warehousing.


Avoiding distraction

We also recognize that car makers are de-prioritizing some projects that are not EV. The new to-do list features electric powertrain and parts production, especially batteries and the electrical components that enable vehicle connectivity. At DHL we are therefore expanding our capabilities to transport heavy and hazardous lithium-ion batteries as well as higher value, time-sensitive auto parts.

Lower down the to-do list, but certainly not deleted, are self-driving vehicles. By 2035 analysts predict 17% of new vehicles in China and the EU will be fully autonomous. In support of this trend, DHL is busy exploring new opportunities for more efficient fleet management.


Generating revenue

DHL auto-mobility customers are also embracing new business models beyond hardware to generate revenue. E-commerce aftermarket sales are expected to grow by 14% by 2026 (and one day consumers will accept online vehicle purchasing) and DHL is expanding its B2C aftermarket product distribution capabilities in all developed and emerging markets. Shared mobility services are also on the increase. For 89% of the global urban population, vehicle sharing is set to become more cost effective than vehicle ownership by 2030, underpinned by specialist logistics services such as vehicle cleaning, recharging, and repositioning.

I hope you have found this article of interest. If you’d like to discuss the logistics required for your electric future, please get in touch with me.

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