Despite the buzz about electric and hybrid vehicles at this year's CES technology expo and the Detroit auto show, it will be another four or five years before those products and their components occupy more than a small revenue niche, supplier executives said at a January conference in Detroit.
"I think in about five years is when you see that move up," BorgWarner CEO James Verrier said at the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference.
"The next two or three years is a slower climb, a niche-type application," he said.
"If today is the baseline, in years five, six, seven you're going to see that ramp up. Then it's going to grow at 20 per cent? Eighteen per cent? Seventeen per cent? None of us knows. But to get to that, you're going to have to see an inflection point in years four and five."
BorgWarner and other suppliers at the conference shared a high-level look at their three-year "backlog," the volume of new business they have coming into production in the next three years over and above older, existing contracts.
BorgWarner has a backlog of between $1.8 billion and $2.6 billion for 2017-19.
But asked by an analyst whether EVs and hybrids had a big impact specifically on that three-year time frame, Verrier said no.
The impact is important and growing, Verrier emphasized. But for now, the business is still small relative to BorgWarner's traditional orders for internal combustion engine parts.
BorgWarner already produces a wide range of EV and hybrid componentry, including electric motors, electric drive transmissions, cabin heaters, engine timing systems, ignitions, starters and alternators, exhaust gas management and more.
But those programs are relatively small.
In a separate presentation, Delphi Automotive CEO Kevin Clark also said the results of industry electrification will be a few years away.
Clark cited IHS Automotive forecasts to anticipate that electrification -- including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery powered EVs -- will grow from around five million vehicles worldwide in 2018 to 27 million in 2025.
Delphi makes powertrain management systems and electrical and electronic architecture.
"Electrification increases Delphi content per vehicle," Clark said.
He said that compared with a baseline of about $395 worth of Delphi content per vehicle currently on internal combustion engine models, Delphi expects to win as much as eight times that amount for plug-in hybrids or battery powered EVs.