Cox Automotive is entering the battery lifecycle business for electric vehicles. According to the company, Spiers New Technologies (SNT), situated in Oklahoma City, provides EV battery pack repair, remanufacturing, refurbishment, and repurposing services.
The specifics of the arrangement were not disclosed by the two companies. The acquisition, according to Cox, would help the company establish its battery repair offerings, especially as “EVs take centre stage.” It goes on to say that electric vehicles have radically different service profiles than those of their internal combustion engine counterparts, with the battery playing a big role. Support for electric car batteries is very important because the battery pack can account for up to 40% of the vehicle’s cost.
Even as the federal government invests more in electric vehicles and more automakers declare billion-dollar investments to expand their EV companies, public mistrust persists. According to Cox’s research, eight out of ten customers who do not consider buying an electric vehicle are suspicious of the battery’s value and usable life.
This isn’t Cox’s first attempt into EV battery management; this business also collaborates with SNT on a battery health diagnostic device that runs on Spiers’ Alfred software platform. Cox said the diagnostic tool would be used to boost consumer trust in electric vehicles, similar to how Kelley Blue Book has increased transparency about the state of ICE vehicles.
Cox will also gain a share in the battery repurposing company as part of the deal. Spiers is one of only a few companies that specialised in providing EV batteries a “second life” after outliving their usefulness in a vehicle. In an interview with TechCrunch earlier this year, SNT said that 80 percent to 90 percent of the batteries it receives come from OEMs, with the balance coming from auto wreckers. It’s a business segment that will only increase as more EVs hit the road, so Cox is sure to get a piece of the end-of-life market as well.
Cox Automotive, situated in Atlanta, was founded in 2014 to bring together all of Cox’s global automotive companies, including Xtime, Autotrader.com, Kelley Blue Book, and Manheim. In August of 2014, Cox Automotive was separated from its parent company, Cox Enterprises. The unit announced the $4 billion purchase of auto dealer software business Dealertrack Technologies in June 2015.
The Cox Automotive business unit separated its brands into five divisions as of September 2015, four of which contained U.S. businesses, such as car auctions and wholesale services, media, and software, financial services, and the fifth group of overseas brands. Go Auto Exchange, Manheim, DealShield, Manheim Global Trader, and Ready Logistics make up the auto auctions and wholesale services company.