What do seats and charging stations have in common? Very little, except that automotive seat supply giant, Lear, has been chosen by GM to supply the home charging stations and some key parts for the Chevrolet Volt.
Although Lear is best known as a car seat supplier, the Southfield, Michigan, based company says they’ve realized how important it is to get in on the electric car supply chain early on in the process. And, instead of GM going with an electronics supply company for the chargers and parts, GM chose to go with a company that may not have the electronics history, but does have a great deal of experience in the automotive realm.
To GM it seems that knowledge and experience in the auto world holds more water than a lengthy experience in electronics when it comes to the new world of plug-in vehicles.
Even though Lear sees great uncertainty still in the success of plug-in vehicles, they see that increasing electrification of vehicles is a trend that won’t reverse any time soon and has chosen to diversify their offerings by entering the hybrid realm as well.
“We won’t bet on a technology,” said Jeneanne Hanley, global vice president of business development and strategy for Lear’s electrical power management systems division in a Detroit Free Press article. But there’s no more clear statement than this: In 2009 alone, 60% of all the patents Lear filed were for hybrid and plug-in vehicle technology. And by 2012, Lear said it expects about $250 million in revenue from plug-in related technology—7% of its electronics sales.
For the Volt Lear will be making a home wall-charging station, the supplied travel charger cable, the onboard charger, some interior wiring, and the safety disconnect equipment for the battery.
Source: Detroit Free Press