The shortage of wiring harnesses continues to plague the automotive industry, with some suggesting that it could speed up the adoption of electric vehicles.
Many industrial wire harnesses are manufactured in Ukraine, but production has stagnated since the beginning of the war. This has led some car manufacturers to shift production to other countries. Mercedes, for example, began collecting shoes from Mexico while some Japanese suppliers added power to Morocco. Production lines are also being set up in Tunisia, Poland, Serbia and Romania.
The average internal combustion engine car has cables up to 3.1 miles (5 km) which are combined into one harness. Talking to ReutersBentley chief executive Adrian Hallmark said the British carmaker feared losing 30-40 per cent of its car production by 2022 if it could not find a new supplier.
Although Hallmark says Bentley has been able to find alternative manufacturing sources, it has increased its focus on creating a common harness for the EVs used by Tesla. These shoes can be made in the section of automatic production line. They are lighter than traditional harness.
Read more: Volkswagen delays launch ID.5 due to lack of wiring harness
“The Tesla model, which is a completely different concept of cable, we couldn’t change overnight,” Hallmark admitted. “It’s a fundamental change in the way we design cars.”
According to her and cable supplier Leoni, many car manufacturers are working with it on automated solutions for EV cable harnesses. In particular, the company is developing modular harness that will be divided into six to eight parts, allowing automatic production. BMW is a car manufacturer looking to use this type of modular harness in the future.
A California startup called CelLink recently created an automated, flat “flex shoe” that is already using a number of electric vehicles. The company’s production line can switch between different shoe designs in just 10 minutes. According to Chief Executive Kevin Cockley, it takes only two weeks to send a redesigned shoe from CelLink, compared to 26 weeks to replace a conventional cable harness.