Taiwan poised to be a major supplier of green auto parts

With rising crude oil prices and an awaking environmental consciousness, more car manufacturers are striving to develop electric vehicles (EV) and capture a share of the burgeoning green industrial revolution. Now, a Taiwanese company, LUXGEN, is also stepping into this emerging field.

The LUXGEN EV+ is the world’s first 7-passenger SUV powered by smart battery cells.  The EV+ can accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) in 8.6 seconds, and reach a top speed of 145 km/h (90 mph).  The battery pack also offers a range of 200 miles from a single charge and is capable of returning excess electricity to the grid. Although Taiwan is too small to sustain a brand, many Taiwanese companies are hoping to transfer the island’s IT experience toward supplying EV parts.

Cheng Jung-ho, a professor of Mechanical Engineering at National Taiwan University said, “Electric cars are likely to restart a green industrial revolution.” A researcher in the field of electric cars, he sees EVs as a further extension of the high-tech market. If you have a product using over twenty microprocessors, ten operating systems and software programs to control all functions, with customers who can check the product’s performance by logging into the manufacturer’s system and a product that can be charged from any electrical outlet, is it a high-tech product or a car?

According to a report in New Ideas, New Tech, New Biz magazine, electric vehicles have revolutionized traditional automobiles. By removing the gas driven engine, gearbox, fuel tank, water tank, exhaust pipe, catalytic converter and replacing them with server motors, fuel cells and sophisticated electronic control systems, it is no longer just a car, but a high-tech application.

“Inside the electrical control system, you will see IC boards and electronic components, which Taiwan’s electronics manufacturers are so familiar with,” said Chen Kuo-rong, vice chairman of Luxgen Motors, a subsidiary of the Yulon Motor Company. Automobile electronics account for over 40 percent of the traditional automotive vehicle production value, and will account for more than 70 percent in electric cars.

The magazine predicts with Taiwan’s strong background in information technology and communication electronics over the last 30 years, it stands to win a leading position in the coming worldwide EV revolution.

By taking advantage of this new technology, Tesla Motors in Silicon Valley has forced the century-old automakers to go back to the drawing board. And this new starting point is extremely beneficial to Taiwan. At Tesla Motors, the international supply chain includes Silicon Valley’s technology research and development, Taiwanese electronic precision manufacturing, and Italian design style. After several years of hard work and development, the cruise control system made by Taiwan’s Gongin Precision and the electronic motor made by Taiwan’s Fukuta Electronic and Machinery, are recognized internationally in Tesla’s electric Roadster sports car.

The magazine reported that from 2010 to 2013, China plans to select 13 demo cities to run 1,000 hybrid and battery cell powdered electric vehicles for public transportation. That means China, strategically planning for 13,000 EVs each year, will be large enough to lead the definition of EV specifications worldwide.

The magazine concluded this is an opportunity for Taiwan to cooperate with the Chinese to learn the marketing specifications, system integration, business operations and service model of EVs in order to expand Taiwan’s EV industry there and in the global market.

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