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Questum and e.GO will manufacture electric cars in Mexico

They will create a fleet of electric commercial cars with German design and Mexican manufacture.

Questum and e.GO will manufacture electric cars in Mexico

They will create a fleet of electric commercial cars with German design and Mexican manufacture.

Questum, a subsidiary of Grupo Quimmco, has scaled up its efforts in urban sustainable mobility with a focus on Mexico. For years, the company has worked together with its customers and strategic partners in the development of vehicles. Today, the New Leon company has partnered with the German firm e.GO to create a fleet of electric commercial cars with German design and Mexican manufacture.

Manuel Valdés , CEO of Questum , shared in an exclusive interview for Mexico Industry that the origin of the project dates back to the collaboration with Femsa, one of its clients and strategic partners. 

At Quimmco, they identified an opportunity in Mexico to venture into electromobility with delivery vehicles in cities . After discussing it with the leader and head of logistics at Femsa, he suggested that they develop an electric delivery vehicle together.

“We started with cargo vehicles; however, as I progressed, Femsa told me that they had another type of fleet to electrify that was dedicated to pre-sales and supervision in their convenience stores: it is a car that should become a work tool ”.

In 2018, Femsa told him about a German company , recently acquired by DHL, where they had seen something interesting in terms of design and solution for a collaboration. Manuel Valdés met the founder of the company and exposed him to Quimmco's competencies, skills and infrastructure for manufacturing, supplier development in Mexico and presence in the region. 

“ We agreed to work to develop a vehicle for Mexico . Since then, the idea was born. They had the plan to create e.GO, but there was still no production plant in Germany; they were in that process. I returned to Mexico with the firm idea that we had to reach an agreement and that we would bring a production plant here, to create the solution for the supervision and pre-sale vehicle market for many work fleets, not just Femsa ”.

The CEO of Questum shared that the work vehicle would have different characteristics, such as the reduction of passenger seats, tools for the supervisor's work, among others. "We were giving shape to the concept and there we began to collaborate with e.GO". 

During 2019, e.GO began with the homologation of its vehicles and the complete development of the design that is publicly known today and is even present in Mexico . 

Due to the pandemic, in 2020 they had to slow down some elements and pause the importation of the first vehicles for a moment. Today, they already have vehicles in the country and are in the first phase of the project , shared the director.

“At Questum, like Quimmco, we brought our manufacturing strength and our supplier development to the table; them, this avant-garde design of an electric vehicle of low cost but of a very high quality ”.

 

PROJECT PHASES

According to the manager, the development of the project includes three stages:

  1. Market test 

Adapt the vehicle to the Mexican territory, its cities and environment. The car will be a work tool; so they are subjecting it to all the environments to which an internal combustion vehicle is exposed. 

  1. Product validation and redesign in Mexico

Feasibility study to locate and review regional and local supply. The modification is made to the vehicle design. 

  1. Production in Mexico

The vehicle will be manufactured locally; the place of establishment of the plant has not yet been selected. 

 

THE PRODUCTION PLANT

Manuel Valdés reported that they are fine-tuning the details of the investment; however, they estimate it to be around $ 50 to $ 70 million . “Compared with a vehicle assembly plant, we can say that it is perhaps 10 times less than in other cases. That is one of our innovative concepts that we will talk about later ”. 

According to their schedule, they will begin construction of the plant in 2023 and will have production capacity in 2024 . The engineer Valdés explained that the location of the plant is still under evaluation. Although, as a Nuevo León company, its plan is to install the plant in the region, he stressed that Mexico has a large automotive supply and production base. 

“ We are thinking of Mexico in general ; We will also evaluate regions in the country that may require development, that have the advantages for the entire ecosystem that the construction of a vehicle requires and that the supply chain, which plays an important role, is close ”, he said.

The factory will have an efficient model and will be designed to work with advanced technology, which requires high-level jobs. In this sense, they estimate to generate around 290 new direct jobs, among which stand out profiles of software engineering, mechatronics, design , among others.

On the other hand, they estimate to generate approximately 2,000 indirect jobs related to the entire ecosystem, including supply. 

“We are very happy to generate employment; Above all, because we use it to help our talent grow and to make it a high-quality, high-value job and for this product to become a reality in Mexico, ”he said. 

He added that the total capacity of the plant can be up to 30,000 vehicles with a modular production . The initial destination of the vehicles will be, initially, Mexico; however, "we are installing everything to reach Central and South America." 

 

OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUPPLY

The company's goal is to have the largest number of suppliers in Mexico. "According to our experience in supplier development, in approximately five years, we should reach a national integration of at least 70%,"  said Manuel Valdés.

He explained that the main component of the vehicle is an aluminum structure , so it will be your starting point in the selection of suppliers. "We know that there is structural aluminum in Mexico and there are large manufacturers with a lot of capacity to do so." 

The second component is the body part that is made of thermoforming and resins; for this, "we have located several production plants and companies that will be able to do so not only in Mexico, but also in the United States." 

In addition to locating, they will develop suppliers due to the volume required by the type of market and vehicles they will manufacture. 

“Many times it is preferable to start developing a supplier. Surely, a company that already produces thousands of components per day will think that making 15,000 a year is very little; these types of vehicles and markets will take on a volume that will require flexibility in the suppliers ”.

 

DISRUPTIVE PRODUCTION MODEL

The Next e.GO Mobile production model shows five characteristics of a production design based on the internet of production concept . The first feature is that it groups the product, user, and production cycle on a single platform. “That can be simulated on a computer and we have a physical and digital digital twin ,” shared the director. 

This new disruptive model does not generate high investments for new production lines, since it has specific characteristics of a micro - factory . “Compared to a car plant today, this plant requires much less resources to produce a car. This is mainly due to the elimination of the production steps that we traditionally see in cars, and which have a very high cost ”. 

In the first place, detailed Manuel Valdés, there will be no need to establish a pressing workshop . "The base of the car is a special frame made of aluminum that meets all safety tests." 

The second element for cost reduction is that there will not be a paint shop . “We bring parts that are thermoplastic, they are fully painted and coated special resins for all the exterior components of the vehicle. They pass all the tests of resistance, impact and others, but they are very simple to manufacture; which makes us reduce investment in tooling and plant size ”. 

The third of the important characteristics of the disruptive concept and technology is that it can be launched more frequently. “The time to market  is greatly reduced. There are no large investments to launch the new model. Right now, e.GO is working on three more models that it will release in a couple of months: it is completely disruptive, we are modifying the vehicle to launch it in a few months, instead of years of planning for the models and the stratospheric investments ", He said. 

In addition, the plant will be connected and adapted to receive 5G technology if required. “This offers a speed of connectivity for practically every device that is in the plant: any tool that is there to tighten a tire, put the bodywork or verify the latest quality check-list . The data will be constantly uploaded to validate in real time if we are doing the right thing in the operation ”.

 

QUESTUM IN ELECTROMOBILITY

Questum's e-mobility division provides innovative solutions in sustainable urban mobility. It arises as a strategy to explore the electromobility market and meet the needs of the main fleets in Mexico, as well as OEM clients such as Freightliner and Isuzu.

“Right now, we are electrifying cargo trucks for cities. We have the privilege of serving companies like Femsa in their OXXO, Coca-Cola, Heineken brands, among others. Those electromobility projects are rolling in cities in Mexico ”. 

Its electrified trucks are proving their functionality in conventional daily routines: from distribution centers to convenience or commercial centers.

“Our commercial allies have given us a vote of confidence for years to promote Mexico in electromobility. It is an ecosystem that was forming very strong; large users are present and have the same needs as us: to be sustainable ”. 

“The ecosystem complements very well with us as manufacturers and other allies that, without a doubt, are accompanied by this; for example, the Automotive Cluster of Nuevo León and the same universities where we have supported ourselves to carry out truck designs and deliveries in record time ”.

In this sense, the director shared that, in July 2019, they met a great challenge for one of their clients: to deliver a fully functional truck, 100% electric, and in less than two months to show it at a transportation exhibition in Puebla. . 

Currently, they operate in an industrial warehouse where they carry out tailor-made solutions for all the fleets they supply. His number one capacity, the director pointed out, is to adapt to each of his needs; the second is to carry out all the engineering processes in its internal department. "We have made the adaptation of an internal combustion truck to an electric truck 100% Mexican." Third, they highlighted their production capacity, which can lead them to produce up to 250 trucks per year in a single shift . 

“Electromobility has been a project in which we complement each other and make open innovation and a lot of cooperation to put Mexico at the forefront in terms of mobility. We have to start and move forward in this technological change that helps us all to have sustainable mobility ”, he concluded.

Via: Mexico Industry