EV is disrupting the automotive industry and its supply chain. It is initially taking place in personal cars and then continues to revolutionize public transportation. This revolution is also opening up the automotive system, which tends to be more proprietary and attracting multiple players to join the game.
At the "Asia Venturing (II): Tech-Driven Mobility" event, held by DIGITIMES and Anchor Taiwan, on August 10, 2021, Vitaly M Golomb, the tech venture specialist and the event host, chatted with MIH Alliance CEO Jack Cheng and Monika Mikac, CBO of Barcelona-based QEV Technologies and former COO of Croatian EV startup Rimac Automobili, exploring the revolution of the EV industry.
Electrification of public transportation
Speaking of electrifying public transportation, Mikac mentioned QEV Technologies' pilot programs in the Philippines and Peru and said, "Our technology is developing in the racing segment and R&D for other clients. We wanted to use it for something that has much more impact. And the impact that we saw is in public transportation. And we definitely notice that in emerging markets, nobody's really paying attention, what is happening, and a lot of pollution is actually happening over there."
Back in 2017, QEV offered a solution to make the first electric Jeepney to the Philippines government. Then, the company continued to provide the electric bus platform to the local buses of Peru. With these two pilot programs, the company started to see the demand for their conversion kit and even the full bus platforms in some developed countries, like school buses in the US and the sightseeing double-deckers in Europe. To meet the market demand, QEV now also welcomes more collaboration opportunities with more companies.
Monika Mikac, CBO of QEV Technologies
Open platform to build a new ecosystem
QEV's story provides a good example to demonstrate the importance of partnership and collaboration to develop EV for different purposes. Electric car making requires the close integration of hardware and software to create solutions, which further explains why MIH is developing an open platform for this market.
According to Cheng, the MIH alliance provides an open platform for EV. Its platform offers developers many options, just like the Android system of the phone, on which developers can add their services to provide different user experiences. So far, MIH has collected almost 1,800 partners to bring different working groups and technical communities together to create modules as solutions rather than just a component business, particularly on the software side to define the hardware. "That is something that MIH wants to promote now to bring a low entrance barrier. So anybody including the tech companies can become a manufacturer or the provider of the EV for their brands. So this is a new concept," said Cheng.
Factors to win the game
With many large investments from venture capitals and big corporates, the global EV industry now is gathering many new players. Venture capitals raise funds to grow unicorns. Many new startups are coming on the scene. More and more mergers & acquisitions are also happening. Cheng pointed out the three key factors that still affect major investments in companies - software, electrical architecture, and finally the chips, which are still in a short supply.
Mikac made a final comment and said, "Because electric vehicles allowed everybody to start from the ground zero, and that's why all of the newcomers in the automotive industry are possible at this moment in history.
(Editor's note: Asia Venturing is a series of monthly roundtables with roadmaps to the future focusing on the hype v.s. the reality of Asia's supply chain-boosted innovation ecosystem, jointly powered by DIGITIMES and Anchor Taiwan. We bring together leading industry luminaries, corporate strategists, experienced investors, and entrepreneurs to expand your network and redefine the possibilities of cross-border opportunities. The replay of the session can be seen on DIGITIMES or Anchor Taiwan.)
Jack Cheng, MIH Alliance CEO