Ernst &Young makes its money giving advice and telling people what to do. The massive global accounting and consulting giant just concluded talks with the bigwigs of the electric vehicle industry in Bonn, Detroit and Beijing and they’ve got some rather bracing advice for the burgeoning electric car industry: Now is the time to get serious.
The result of Ernst and Young’s research is a report titled “The Moment of Truth for the Electric Vehicle Industry,” and in it, the firm offers plenty of straight talk and direction for those involved in the alt-fuel transportation evolution.
According to Gil Forer, who heads up Ernst & Young Global Cleantech, “Electric cars are rolling off production lines and onto our roads and streets, with global hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full electric vehicle production numbers set to rise significantly over the next four years. Companies across the spectrum are working overtime and partnering to embrace the EV opportunity and overcome deployment challenges. But the dress rehearsal is over. Hard work and cross-sectoral cooperation are required to build an enduring EV industry and to ensure a positive total customer experience.”
Aside from the general wake-up call, just what does Ernst & Young suggest for the electric vehicle industry? The report’s first recommendation is for automakers to supply more vehicles, both in volume and variety. According to the report, “The EV market needs breadth and depth to move beyond early adopters and serve different market segments. For consumers, this will help to ensure that buyers can find an EV model in the class of vehicle they require and for fleet managers, this means being able to purchase the right vehicle in volumes that make economic sense.”
Secondly, the EV industry must create infrastructure standards and protocols to drive business model development because the lack of platform standards is inhibiting the rollout of broad-based solutions.
Ernst & Young’s third recommendation, “Create and Easy Button,” concerns the patchwork of regional incentives and permitting requirements that has deterred prospective buyers. The firm suggests entrepreneurial companies that can offer a seamless way to finance electric vehicles and have chargers ordered, permitted and installed will draw those who are watching and waiting into the market.
To spur consumer interest the report suggests that manufactures create an ” i-Car,” noting that the electrification of transportation brings the automobile one step closer to being a consumer appliance. Marry EV technology with compelling industrial design and a revolutionary interface to create a vehicle mass consumer appeal. This recommendation is close to another note in the report that urges companies to simply think differently, noting, “With the advent of EVs, now is the time to take a fresh perspective on the automobile, whether it is placing it in the context of a mobility concept, thinking about new business models or welcoming new players into the EV ecosystem.”