Josep Prat explains how the new developments in China are bringing Applus+ to the forefront in the electric vehicle industry


    Josep Prat has been with Applus+ since 2014 and began his career in the company’s Shanghai offices in the Business Development area. After this, he moved to the company's headquarters in Barcelona to support the international offices of the Laboratories Division in various capacities in the Finance and Operations departments. Following his work in Spain, he then moved to Mexico, where he led the Mexico and Caribbean region as Country Manager.

    Tell us about your current role at Applus+

    Currently, I am the Country Manager of the Laboratories Division in China. Since 2019, I’ve led and implemented the business development strategy in the Asian country.

    What lessons did you learn and what challenges did you overcome in these past years?

    2022 was tough for many of us in China, as we went through stressful situations and changes. These changes were marked by two months of strict lockdown, zero-COVID policies, internal reforms and supply chain disruptions.

    However, that year became the ultimate training ground, an opportunity to learn from challenging situations. We developed a more resilient mindset; the tough times made us stronger. To this day, we’re still fighting, developing our capabilities in line with our strategy so we can be ready for whatever the future has in store.

    With the reopening of China and the lifting of zero-COVID policies, we have started 2023 with energy and positive forecasts. It's going to be an exciting year and we’re ready for it!

    Could you tell us a little bit about the project you are currently working on?

    Of course! In 2020, in line with our Strategic Plan, we acquired Reliable Analysis (RA) in China, a test lab focused on automotive components testing. Since then, we have continued to develop RA with new labs and capabilities, following market and electrification trends.

    In the last year, we have opened several new labs, occupying more than 3,000 square metres, to meet market demands, including:, environmental and vibration components for high voltage.

    What are the distinct features of this project?

    The electric vehicle industry is growing at an unpredictable rate and China has ambitious targets to lead this race. In 2022, the penetration rate of New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) stood at over 25% of total market sales, with more than 6.5 million units sold.

    Today, offering an efficient testing service is paramount, as manufacturers aim to meet large volumes of demand and accelerate the manufacturing process. Especially if technological advances, such as faster charging times and other electrical and electronic gadgets, are incorporated to the interior of the vehicle.

    What have been the benefits of acquiring Reliable Analysis?

    All components of the Electric Vehicle (EV), including the battery pack, charging system, motor and auxiliary systems, have their own design and elements that require individual and cohesive testing for design verification, product validation and regulatory compliance.

    One of our biggest advantages is that we work closely with original equipment manufacturers and suppliers to ensure that all standards are met in record time.

    Having eyes and ears on the automotive market provides us with the opportunity to learn and develop ourselves on a technical level, but also to discover work processes and methodologies that we can share with our colleagues and apply to other countries and products.

    How do you achieve higher productivity the Laboratories Division? Has there been an economic impact?

    China is a very dynamic and fast-moving market and, in order to maintain a leading position, it is key to develop capabilities at the same pace.

    Together with good market positioning, a good channel and a close relationship with industry players, the new laboratories have enabled our success from the beginning. Today, we work for major OEMs and are number one in the industry.

    In addition to this, we have our most valuable asset: a great team of
    highly-motivated and qualified professionals. We have more than 300 employees in the field of automotive components testing ready to contribute to the project and make our goals a reality.

    Can you tell us about any future projects?

    Our goal is to become the most competitive and comprehensive laboratory in China's automotive and electric vehicle market.

    One big step we are taking to move to the next stage of competitiveness and meet the demands of equipment manufacturers in testing is to work at the vehicle level.

    We are building an automotive laboratory of more than 8,000 square metres that will include several electromagnetic compatibility chambers and where we will also conduct over-the-air tests. It will be the first of its kind in Shanghai. Thanks to the experience of our European colleagues, we believe it will be a great success in the near future.

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