Exhibitor Q & A: Gorazd Lampič, CEO of Elaphe Propulsion Technologies
Gorazd Lampič is an ambitious entrepreneur with a technical background in physics and alternative energy sources. He started his first business in 2000 at the age of 21 and in 2003 he began working on in-wheel motors. When Elaphe was founded in 2006, he became the CEO and assumed responsibility for directing the company’s strategic goals and business decisions. He led Elaphe from an R&D direct-drive powertrain development company to considerable growth by launching its own products, starting industrialisation and commercialisation of in-wheel technology for the mass OEM market. Gorazd received the national Young Manager of the Year Award in 2016.
Please tell us about your current role. What are your key focus areas and responsibilities?
As the CEO I need to support the team with access to key knowledge and resources to ensure suitable market penetration of our solutions. Luckily the development process is well covered by our CTO and multiple R&D departments. The key challenge is to serve early adopters who are eager to use our solution as it is and simultaneously push the products or solutions towards much larger volumes for the early majority – the automotive OEMs, who have a great need to dig into many details. My responsibility is to balance the ambitions for rapid growth in production volume and aspiration for more time-consuming precise development in line with rigorous automotive standards.
What inspired you to join/start this company?
As a physicist I noticed many potentials of in-wheel architecture for EVs. Due to high complexity and combinations of electromagnetics, mechanical engineering, electronics, thermal and other phenomena it was also an interesting multi-physics research endeavour back in the 90s. To my knowledge at that time nobody was really active in the field, so in 2003 I decided to start a company with my mentor who was active in direct drive electric motor innovations since the end of 1980s.
What do you think sets your company apart from your competitors?
People notice that we have a great combination of scientific research coupled with in-house capabilities for building and testing mule vehicles and powertrain platforms. So I would say it is theory combined with practice. Just to give you an example, we are developing improvements in the motor control algorithms, integrating them on a vehicle control unit and power electronics, while in parallel we run coupled EM and mechanical CAE analyses and adjust motor mechanical design, optimise it on the measuring benches and then measure chassis-related NVH and vehicle energy efficiencies. All this can happen quite fast. This is a great, fast, agile development process backed by pure science and physics. In business, people typically appreciate our personal approach – we try to offer a full experience by being both professional and easy to work with. The key goal is to get the customer to succeed with their objectives. It’s a win-win.
What are the key opportunities and challenges your company faces at present?
We are introducing quite a big change in the traditional automotive industry. Luckily, several companies are open to novelties. It is such a huge opportunity. But at the same time the devil is in the details and we have to do everything right. The greatest challenge is scaling up the production and achieving effective, meaningful cost reduction. On paper, and on computers, everything looks nice, but putting this into practice through a quality supply chain is big part of our work.
With customers we sometimes have the chicken-and-egg problem. But I guess we are not the only company facing this in this day and age of radical changes…
Are there any new technology developments that you are working on at the moment? Can you tell us about them?
Sure. We like to share exciting content. There are several – if you are a performance enthusiast, then you might like our supercar platform, currently in testing. During first test runs out of the assembly workshop, the mules reached 0–100 km/h in 3.5 seconds, using only four in-wheel motors, without any gears or transmissions! Now we are working on implementing traction control and better grip at front wheels to get under three seconds.
Other interesting developments are related to electronics and generation of intelligent data. We can for example measure the grip with the road and we are communicating this information to the cloud and sharing with autonomous application layers.
What would you say most excites you about your role?
It is the constant change and need for learning and self-improvement. I don’t have any excuses. Challenges really drive me forward. Honestly, I am not happy with delays and with things that don’t end well and need to be repeated, but most of the challenges are fresh and present objective difficulties that need to be overcome by smart solutions and smart decisions.
How do you think the industry will develop within the next five years? Can you tell us about the key trends emerging?
Our plans are quite in line with market trends, which are pointed towards alternative concepts of mobility. We are already living in the time of changing trends where the understanding of the transportation is changing, so the technology needs to follow customer requirements. Together with independent projections we see major potential in those trends. BEVs are going to register the maximum growth for in-wheel technology, which is expected to fuel the growth of electric vehicle sales in general. In-wheel technology can support the development of EVS very well, being a simplified and efficient but at the same time technologically advanced solution with a lot of potential to be adjusted to all sorts of applications. The car of the future will become less pointed towards the driver and more to the passenger, which translates to the way of how the future cars will be built. This is how we at Elaphe understand this mission to provide the key technological elements that will follow the perception of future mobility.
What do you hope to achieve at the show next year, and what connections do you hope to make?
We are expecting to create an even greater impact by presenting the newest milestones in our technology development. I can assure you that those creations will leave an impact on the key players in the market. We are always open to the new opportunities with all potential partners and adopters who share the same motivation as we do in creating a new mobility world in the near future.
Elaphe Propulsion Technologies will be exhibiting at Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo Europe 2019 at stand 241.