Off the back of an encouraging increase in vehicle registrations in 2023, the electric vehicle market across multiple segments is poised to see further growth in the near future. In the EU, battery-electric car registrations saw an increase of 37 per cent compared to 2022, while battery-electric van uptake in the UK reached record levels with a 21 per cent year-on-year increase. January also saw the 60,000th battery-electric van make its way onto UK roads since 2018, while registrations rose 19.4 per cent compared to the same month in 2023.

This positive trajectory looks set to continue in light of progress made by governments and regulatory bodies in Europe. This includes the UK government’s now-legally enforced zero emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate, as well as upwardly revised carbon-emission targets for trucks & buses and a commitment to continue vehicle-adoption incentives until 2029.

While vehicle-manufacturers can be optimistic about these latest developments, it is critical that they – and the market at large – are equipped with the infrastructure and technology to accelerate electric-vehicle uptake further.

Of course, at the top of the agenda for OEMs is the ability to deliver competitive products. In the first instance, this is imperative from the perspective of time to market. In an industry that’s becoming increasingly saturated with competition, typical vehicle development cycles of 36 months or greater need to be reduced to effectively respond to the pace of innovation.

Expanding development timescales isn’t the only problem that OEMs are facing, either; the cost challenge is also closely interlinked with this. Innovation is inherently capital-intensive, with in-house infrastructure requiring high levels of upfront investment in order to realise its full potential for developing truly bespoke, cutting-edge solutions.

Pushing the capabilities of new technologies to deliver performance and efficiency that can compete with tried-and-tested combustion-engine solutions, in a reduced timeframe, is a challenge that cannot be underestimated. This is something that both established and new manufacturers know all too well; gathering the required investment and resource to facilitate in-house design & manufacturing, at a level and rate that enables them to remain competitive, remains a challenge for many companies in the industry.

To compound the issue, this requirement for cost-efficient but rapid innovation is at odds with the evolving nature of vehicle development; as OEMs’ offerings become more technologically advanced, they are becoming more complex to design, validate and manufacture, and therefore necessitate extended time-to-market.

In order to resolve these challenges, OEMs need to focus on elements of their business that give them a competitive – but time-efficient – advantage; they need to swiftly implement a smart, futureproofed product development strategy – one that leverages existing expertise, resources, and core vehicle parts as far as possible to maximise operational efficiency.

The battery management system, for instance, is one of the most critical parts in the puzzle of how well an electric vehicle performs. In many ways, it is the ‘beating heart’ of the vehicle – and crucially, gives manufacturers an effective means of enhancing performance, efficiency, and safety in one core area of development.

Despite its effectiveness in unlocking more competitive advantages, it does not necessarily require creation of a bespoke, time-intensive in-house solution. Advanced, fully certified and scalable off-the-shelf solutions can be configured at an application level for a broad range of vehicles, while being able to deliver the same level of quality and safety as a bespoke solution. This means that manufacturers can ensure that their end-product is a strong proposition, while reducing the cost and timescales of bringing it to market – making market-competitive vehicles feasible for many more industry players.

As the path to further electric-vehicle uptake continues to be reinforced, OEMs can – and must – take the opportunity to implement critical measures to futureproof their business. Intelligent solutions that enhance the competitiveness of their offering, as well as their own operational efficiency, are readily available, and having a product development strategy optimised in this way is critical for manufacturers to set themselves up for success in this new age of electric mobility.