The Tricky Challenge of Meeting the EV Future in the (Mainly) ICE Present

By Gary S. Vasilash

One of the things that isn’t often considered when OEMs announce still another new electric vehicle is that just as is the case with their vehicles with internal combustion engines, suppliers make a considerable number of the parts and systems that go into those vehicles.

This puts suppliers in something of a tricky situation because chances are they have the capacity to produce parts for ICE vehicles and now, assuming that they want to continue to have business, they have to acquire or develop the wherewithal to make the EV componentry.

And let’s face it: this EV transition isn’t going to happen overnight, so there is still the need to supply the things for the ICE vehicles.

Consider the situation at GM, an example that is simply representative of the industry as a whole.

Buick has four vehicles in its lineup and zero EVs. Cadillac has seven and one EV. Chevy has 18 vehicles and one (or two if you could the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV as two, but they count it as one). And there is GMC with eight vehicles and one EV.

It should be noted that there were 22,830 EVs delivered in the U.S. by GM through Q3—out of a total 1,650,827 vehicles.

Still, suppliers see the proverbial writing on the wall and as such they are looking to what they can do to make the transition to electric.

One of the top global auto suppliers is Schaeffler. And on this edition of “Autoline After Hours” we talk to Jeff Hemphill, chief technology officer of Schaeffler Americas.

Hemphill explains how the company is making the transition to electrification, providing everything from motors that are used in hybrid systems to complete e-axles for battery electric vehicles. The company is both responding to what OEMs want and working to develop the tech that is expected to be needed.

(Remember: EVs are still pretty much a nascent technology for most OEMs–and suppliers–even though it seems fait accompli.)

Hemphill talks with “Autoline’s” John McElroy, Mike Austin of Guidehouse and me about how the company is working to provide OEMs with what they need now—and will need tomorrow.

And you can see it all here.

Lincoln Approaches 100

Yet it is working to maintain freshness and relevance in the market by paying attention to the market

By Gary S. Vasilash

One of the aspects of vehicle ownership that probably doesn’t receive as much attention as it ought to is the act of ownership itself.

As in purchasing the vehicle. Then the on-going owning of the vehicle.

To be sure, the product itself has to be worth acquiring. Features, functions, capabilities and the like. Style and technology.

Lincoln, which is now predicated on a lineup of SUVs, is going to be launching an electric vehicle next year and will be offering a fully electrified lineup by 2030.

Lincoln is readying the launch of the Lincoln Intelligence System, a cloud-based system that provides extensive capabilities for its vehicles, including over-the-air updates.

Lincoln will soon be launching its Lincoln ActiveGlide hands-free driving system.

And there is more.

But one of the more interesting aspects of what Lincoln has been steadily doing is providing excellent customer—it calls its purchasers “clients”—service. According to a recent J.D. Power survey, Lincoln is number-one in sales satisfaction among luxury brands.

2022 Lincoln Navigator (Image: Lincoln)

It has developed what it calls the “Lincoln Way,” which is a customer-centric approach to the buying and ownership experience, which it is initially launching in China—an important market for the brand—and then will roll out in North America.

Michael Sprague is Lincoln’s North America Director, which means he is in charge of marketing, sales and service for the marque in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

And on this edition of “Autoline After Hours” Sprague talks to “Autoline’s” John McElroy and me about what Lincoln is doing to help increase the momentum that it is building with not only vehicles like the Navigator, but with its approach to the customer both during and after the sale.

Sprague is one of the most thoughtful and articulate people in the industry, so his observations about the brand—which will be 100 next year (at least will have been part of Ford for 100 years, since it was founded by Henry M. Leland in 1917, and he sold it to Ford in 1922. . .and it is worth noting that Leland had earlier founded another company: Cadillac)—are worthwhile for those with interest in the industry.

In addition to which, McElroy and I talk with Patrick Lindemann, president, Transmission Systems, E-Mobility, Schaeffler, and John Waraniak, CEO, Have Blue, about the Indy Autonomous Challenge, which will be run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on October 23.

This race will pit 10 vehicles, all Dallara AV-21s, that have been engineered by student teams from around the world, in a race with $1-million going to the winning team.

No, it will not go to the winning driver, because as the name of the race indicates, there are no drivers, this is an autonomous event.

And you can see all of this right here.