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Home->Fastener News->China's electric-car boom charges up smaller J...You are the 533406 visitors
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China's electric-car boom charges up smaller Japan suppliers

The fast-growing Chinese market for electric cars is creating new opportunities for small and midsize Japanese parts manufacturers that boast special expertise to address the unique technological challenges of those vehicles.

Shigehara has received orders from 10 auto-related Chinese companies to design and build prototype transmissions for electric vehicles. The Osaka-based company's strength in highly precise components for race cars drew notice when it took part in an electric-vehicle race.

Transmissions, which adjust engine output and transfer energy efficiently to the wheels, are not required in electric vehicles, which are propelled by motors.

But Shigehara's president says transmissions could allow for smaller batteries and motors and improve fuel economy by more than 10%. They could help address the challenge of extending the range of compact and commercial electric vehicles.

The prototype transmission generates sales of just a few million yen, or tens of thousands of dollars. Shigehara intends to patent related technologies and sell licenses to develop a new source of earnings, the president said. Separately, the company is developing a new transmission mechanism for electric vehicles.

Aluminum-casting company Tajima Light Metal, based in Saitama Prefecture, will form a joint venture with a Chinese manufacturer as early as this year. The venture is expected to set up a plant in Liaoning Province in October 2019. The company is strong in sand mold casting and hopes to win orders for prototype parts for electric vehicles.

Battery and motor casings for electric vehicles need to be shaped to fit specific vehicle designs. They must be sealed yet able to dissipate heat. More than 200 prototypes are required for each product, and battery makers and others ask for low quantities of various types of precision aluminum castings. But not many companies in China are able to build dies to accommodate such demand.

Some companies from Japan are expanding their Chinese footprints. Tokyo-based Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo began shipping precious metals used in switches of onboard electronics from a Zhejiang Province plant at the end of 2016 and plans to double output in 2018.

The switches, known as automotive relays, require the durability to withstand temperature changes and vibrations inside the cabin. With electric vehicles incorporating more onboard electronics than traditional autos, the Tanaka Holdings unit will increase its supply to manufacturers amid the electrics boom.

As the government tightens environmental regulations, demand for electric vehicles is seen continuing to grow in China. Sales there will reach 868,000 units in 2025, information services company Fuji Keizai projects -- more than triple 2016 levels.

Source: Nikkei

2017/8/1 17:07:00

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