There’s no question that the world is moving towards a net zero future, and with this comes a growing demand for zero-emission vehicles - using both battery electric and fuel cell technology. So says Martin Kunz, President & CEO of Concentric AB, an innovator in flow control and fluid power, supplying proprietary systems and components to the world’s truck, bus, agricultural machinery, construction equipment, and industrial applications end-markets.
Registrations of electric buses and medium and heavy-duty electric trucks have seen good growth in recent years, particularly within China, Europe and the United States, as reported by the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Global EV Outlook 2022, which states that, for 2021: ‘sales of electric buses increased 40 percent over the previous year even as the global bus market remained roughly constant. Global sales of electric medium- and heavy-duty trucks more than doubled over 2020 volumes, while total truck sales volumes remained at roughly the same level as the previous year.’
The IEA’s report further says that, ‘in 2021, the global electric bus stock totalled 670,000 vehicles, driven by growth specifically within transit buses that operate in urban areas with strong needs for emission reductions. Electric heavy-duty truck numbers were recorded at 66,000 vehicles. These figures represented around four percent of the global fleet for buses and 0.1 percent for medium and heavy-duty trucks respectively.
“Research conducted by Interact Analysis shows further positive progression within this sector over the next few years, stating that, by 2030, we should see these numbers increase to more than nine million battery electric trucks and buses out of a total market of 21 million,” Kunz continues.
“The rate of uptake will however be influenced by several factors, including global charging infrastructure, developments in battery technology, legislation, and the total cost of ownership of commercial vehicles.”
Concentric supports zero-emission commercial vehicle development
“As is clear from the research sources already mentioned, buses and short-haul trucks have been early adopters of new technologies, with medium- and heavy-duty vehicles increasingly following suit,” he explains.
“And at the same time as OEMs increase their production volume of electric commercial vehicles, the market size for Concentric’s higher value electric products continues to grow. This provides significant growth opportunities for our business in the coming years, where Concentric can increase its share of wallet through a broader range of electric products, including coolant pumps, EHS, and complete cooling systems, for example.
“Apart from these growth drivers, the timing of the transition from internal combustion engine (ICE) to battery electric vehicle (BEV) or fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) will also have an important impact on the growth projections for Concentric.”
Looking to the near future
Concentric recently outlined a new, ambitious electric business target, aiming to derive 30 percent of its sales from electric products by 2028, and Kunz believes that the organisation’s acquisition of Engineered Machined Products, Inc. (EMP), a leading US producer of electric and mechanical water and oil pumps, electric fans, thermal management systems and precision machined components, in late 2021, has been a key strategic move in accelerating the growth of electrification.
“EMP’s integration has been fast and successful, and we are now seeing the benefits in terms of sales growth and margin expansion. We are making significant investments in the Escanaba facility to support the growth of EMP-branded Concentric products.”
Concentric continues to innovate and respond to the evolving needs of our customers. As a result, we are well positioned to continue to make inroads in supplying our markets with both electrified and mechanical products. Known for the robustness and reliability of our products, as well as the ability to deliver tailored solutions to meet our customers' specific requirements, we have established a strong presence in our end markets, such as buses and trucks, as well as within the construction and agriculture sectors, and will continue to support our customers with our proven, efficient products and with our global manufacturing, engineering and sales footprint.
“Drivers for continued growth within our mechanical base business include new, ambitious proposed standards and legislation to reduce harmful air pollutant emissions from light-duty and medium-duty vehicles, as well as requirements for improved fuel efficiency. This will increase demand for our value-adding, efficient, mechanical products”
“We have electric products on on-highway vehicles and construction, agriculture and industrial machines all around the world and continue win attractive new projects in our base business. As such, Concentric recently secured a large contract for precision machined components in North America with an existing global OEM customer.
And we are having the same success for our electric products. This includes multiple new customers won with our electrohydraulic steering (EHS) system over the past months and a massively increased interest for high-voltage prototypes as well as an order to supply a fully integrated high-voltage cooling solution to a leading North American zero-emission truck manufacturer, for example.”
New market opportunities
As well as continued growth in its core markets, e-Products are also helping to open up new markets for Concentric, says Kunz.
“An example of this growth is a new development contract recently received by Concentric to supply high voltage electric coolant pumps for a battery electric mining machine. The customer, a global construction OEM, will use our e-Pumps to cool the batteries and power electronics on a large fully electric mining machine.”
“We are constantly analysing opportunities for our electric products in other, adjacent new markets. Another example is a success that has been realised in the energy storage market, where our electric coolant pumps are being used for battery cooling by a market-leading OEM of storage systems.
“We continue to look for ways to support and accelerate our electric business growth plans through further acquisitions and have a dedicated team in place to explore these opportunities. The continued strength of our balance sheet means that we retain the capacity to deliver material growth through acquisitions, with a focus on those targets which enhance our existing technology portfolio and deliver on our global growth strategy,” Kunz concludes.