2010 Nissan Leaf EV - Click above for high-res image gallery
One thing David Cole said when we talked to him at the Business of Plugging In expo was that parts suppliers need to change in order to keep up with the demand for new parts in electric vehicles. In Japan, the Nissan Leaf has become a sort of wake up call for Japanese parts companies, who can see firsthand that, when you scrap the ICE, thousands of parts that suppliers have been providing OEMs for decades are all of a sudden not needed. Bloomberg says that up to 40 percent of the parts in a typical car are engine components. In Japan, the domestic suppliers are in a "crisis-like situation" as they try to adapt to the new reality.
Japanese suppliers Tsubakimoto Chain Co. and NTN two suppliers profiled in the Bloomberg piece, but it's clear that this is going to be a tough road for almost everyone involved. Tsubakimoto's Toru Fujiwara told Bloomberg that, "With electric cars, there's no way we can apply our current technology. We have to come up with completely new technology." The company is spending 3.5 billion yen on battery-powered vehicle research this fiscal year. Of course, this is exactly the kind of challenge that is required to get off gas.