GRAND BLANC, MI –E-Car Systems, a hybrid-electric and electric-vehicle parts and systems supplier, is unsurprisingly optimistic about the future of vehicle electrification.
“We are bullish,” says Gary Meyers, vice president and general manager. Meyers also serves as product-development chief of subsidiaryE-Car Components.
However, Magna E-Car has no plans to build its own alternatively propelled vehicle, Meyers says, despite having access to all the necessary tools.
Magna E-Car was formed in 2008 when the global parts-making giant Magna International purchased BluWave Systems to expand into the alternative-propulsion business, a personal project of Magna founder Frank Stronach.
The 78-year-old Stronach also has made no secret of his desire to bring an auto maker into his Canada-based automotive empire, making unsuccessful plays in recent years for bothand Adam Opel.
Magna unquestionably has the technical talent necessary to engineer its own EV. It already supplies the entire propulsion system to the electricFocus launching this year and to another unnamed European OEM.
It also provides HEV and EV powertrain bits and pieces to other global makers, including inverters toAutomotive for its Karma extended-range EV.
Perhaps more importantly, the supplier boasts the well-heeled treasury so many of the recently failed EV startups lacked, and its global footprint includes a successful vehicle assembly site, Magna Steyr in Austria, where it has built cars for, Mercedes-Benz and , among others.
Magna Steyr says it can engineer, validate and manufacture complete vehicles at a capacity of more than 200,000 units annually.
Meyers admits Magna E-Car and its parent company possess the muscle to make their own HEV or EV, but such a venture does not fit Stronach’s plans for the unit.
“Frank’s vision is to have in E-Car what he has in Magna International, and that is the capability to put together a complete solution for an OEM,” he tells WardsAuto during the opening of an E-Car manufacturing site here.
“To make an E-Car-branded vehicle is not his vision, but he does want that complete end-to-end capability within Magna E-Car, much like he has grown within the Magna International group of companies.”
Magna International CEO Don Walker told WardsAuto last year he was happy the supplier’s bid for 55% of Opel fell through. He said the deal would have put Magna International in competition with its OEM customers.
Magna International also made a play forin 2007, when wanted to unload the Auburn Hills, MI, auto maker after it lost $1.6 billion in the previous year. Magna eventually lost out to the private-equity firm Cerberus.