New suppliers race to plug in to electric car market

By Nick Carey and Paul Lienert WOKING, England (Reuters) - The global auto industry has committed $1.2 trillion to developing electric vehicles (EVs), providing a

golden opportunity for new suppliers to grab contracts providing everything from battery packs to motors and inverters. Startups specialising in batteries and coatings to

protect EV parts, and suppliers traditionally focused on niche motorsports or Formula One (F1) racing, have been chasing EV contracts. Carmakers design platforms to last a decade,

so high-volume models can generate large revenues for years. The next generation of EVs is due to hit around 2025 and many carmakers have sought help plugging gaps in their

expertise, providing a window of opportunity for new suppliers. "We've gone back to the days of Henry Ford where everyone is asking 'how do you make these things work

properly?'," says Nick Fry, CEO of F1 engineering and technology firm McLaren Applied. "That's a huge opportunity for companies like us." Bought from McLaren by

private equity firm Greybull Capital in 2021, McLaren Applied has adapted an efficient inverter developed for F1 racing for EVs. An inverter helps control the flow of electricity

to and from the battery pack. The silicon carbide IPG5 inverter weighs just 5.5 kg (12 lb) and can extend an EV's range by over 7%. Fry says McLaren Applied is working with

around 20 carmakers and suppliers, and the inverter will appear in high-volume luxury EV models starting January 2025. Mass-market carmakers often prefer to develop EV

components in-house and own the technology themselves. After years of pandemic-related parts shortages, they are wary of over-reliance on suppliers.