For this episode of the AVID Learning podcast Ryan Maughan talks to fellow North Easterner and electric vehicle innovator and trailblazer Doug MacAndrew about his vast experience in the Electric Vehicle market.
Doug is a hugely experienced automotive engineer having come up through the ranks at Rover Group, JLR then to McLaren Automotive where he worked on the SLR super car program. After McLaren Doug moved back to the North East and joined a little known company called Smiths Electric Vehicles, Smiths were one of the oldest electric vehicle manufacturers in the world and they had an ambitious plan to launch a range of high performance electric commercial vehicles. Saying that today in 2020 this might not seem all that special with electric commercial manufacturer start-ups appearing all over the place, but way back in 2007 this was something really unusual and special.
Smiths could trace its roots back to 1920 when it started as a manufacturer of electric delivery trucks for milk and tea. Its products had been quite low performance until that point focusing on low speed industrial electric vehicles they had a vision for transforming urban logistics with higher performance electric delivery trucks and vans. As an early mover in the electric commercial vehicle market unfortunately Smiths did not manage to break through with investment issues meaning they ran out of money before they managed to fully mature the product and gain scale in the market.
After the Smiths adventure Doug then moved onto another massive challenge at electric personal aircraft company AeroMobil taking his experience of cutting-edge product development onto what could only be described as a unique challenge!
Ryan and Doug discuss the electric vehicle market looking at what is happening in the market now, the challenges of vehicle development, achieving reliability and the vehicle powertrain engineering process. From electric delivery vehicles to flying autonomous cars including bringing together the skills of automotive and aerospace engineering! Including how electrification can significantly simplify and reduce the cost of small aircraft leading to huge opportunities and challenges for the established aircraft industry.
After AeroMobil Doug has taken up a new challenge as Chief Operating Officer of battery manufacturing company InoBat, where Doug is leading the delivery of InoBat’s plan to develop and scale up battery technology in Europe. Ryan and Doug discuss the battery industry, cell technology cell form factors and packaging from solid state tech to the new form factors of cells coming to the market. Doug explains the plans at InoBat to scale their business as they bring new battery technology and manufacturing capacity to the market. Rather than just licensing in battery tech and building a manufacturing plant InoBat is aiming to take a leading position in global battery supply by developing their own battery chemistries and manufacturing technology for world class sustainable and ethical battery cell production in Europe.
Doug’s passion for engineering and his vast knowledge of the electric vehicle market make for a fascinating discussion.
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