Exhibitor Interview: Luka Ambrozic, Head of Sales and Global Accounts, Elaphe Propulsion Technologies

A robotics engineer by profession, Luka combines marketing, technical knowledge and natural talents to work
luka ambrozicin sales and business development. He was deeply involved in international sales and marketing for a number of years before joining Elaphe in 2015 to head up managing key accounts. His key responsibilities in Elaphe are creating new opportunities, moving them forward, inspiring customers to pursue new ideas and possibilities, and making a compelling business case for customer success. He dedicates his free time to run a non-profit organisation raising funds through events for different children’s organisations across the country.

Which customer or market demands were the biggest drivers of your company's growth during the past three years?

As the new mobility paradigm grows in effect, more and more innovative solutions are required to enable this shift in mobility. Electric vehicles have increasingly different requirements to regular passenger vehicles, in function, packaging and performance. While the traditional automotive industry is focused on recovering investments into ICEs, more and more vehicle designers and manufacturers have been scrambling to find already industrialised, electric propulsion solutions, that would bring them a competitive edge in the market. The in-wheel powertrain system could bring newcomer vehicle OEMs – desperate to compete with Tesla on the market share – a competitive advantage, since they will not have to compete with the 15-year head start on the e-axle concept that Tesla perfected, but provide value and appeal to customers on a platform with a new set of rules and fewer constraints.

Do you anticipate that those demands will continue to be your biggest growth drivers for the next three years, or are you anticipating new trends?

Definitely new trends. We see them emerging already – CASE especially (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric). There is focus on last mile mobility and new mobility platforms, multimodal, all-electric, plus focus on software-defined modular powertrains that can easily be upgraded like apps on your phone. Definitely a shift from the race on acceleration performance and range to more space and comfort-based value for consumers. A strong overlap of powertrain, intelligent data, connectivity and autonomous features.

What are your areas of R&D focus, and what timeline do you anticipate for bringing your next new products to market? Can you tell us anything about those products?

While our main focus is on bringing in-wheel technology to the mass market, our unique and complete propulsion platform is as much about software as it is about hardware. There’s a lot in store and a new powertrain architecture is just a basis for what becomes possible with embracing a new era in automotive. Some things can be on the market already in the 2023 automotive cycle, while others are laying groundwork to disrupt the next stage of the way we move around this planet.

What new trends do you anticipate and what market demands do you see evolving/changing over the next five years?

Lightweighting, minimising volume footprint of vehicles in the cities, consolidation of powertrain components across models and brands, modularity and completely new concepts of multimodal transport, which is interconnected. While SUVs and similar vehicle sizes will continue to grow in numbers, we will be seeing increased vehicle utilisation rates (seven-seaters, and so on) and the disappearance of diesel cars. Data and connectivity will become the backbone of the EV industry and smart cities. Safety of vehicles will set a completely new benchmark, and the line between a smartphone and the vehicle will become blurred.

What would you say are the key challenges and opportunities currently faced by the industry?

Changing user demands. Lack of supply chains in place to support the changes. Lack of imagination and a heavy inertia of the automotive industry. Big economies of scale are prone to risky changes, so it is understandable that changes are introduced at a slow pace. However, this also opens up a lot of room for newcomer OEMs and competition is/will be fierce. Key opportunities for SMEs and innovative companies to enter the automotive industry. Also, opportunities for start-ups as capital is more available than ever.

Elaphe Propulsion Technologies will be exhibiting at Electric & Hybrid Technology Expo Europe 2019 at stand 241.