As automakers work to ramp up electric-vehicle production and compete for market share in the growing segment, the EV battery supply chain is starting to show signs of unsustainable pressure, two new reports point out.
EV battery ranges have continued to increase, and battery-pack sizes to accommodate them, Bloomberg reported. Meanwhile, competing brands are jockeying for limited supplies and trying to qualify their models for government subsidies requiring certain amounts of domestic manufacture and sourcing, a race that’s starting to reveal supply line fractures, Business Insider said.
The growing demand for EV supplies is pointing up limitations and how they’re affecting automakers’ ability to meet production targets and scale their EV business. Business Insider pointed out that Ford, General Motors and Porsche complained of supply delays and constraints in their latest earnings reports.
Ford, for one, is still losing money on its EV unit, Model e, forecasting a $4.5 billion deficit this year, up by half from estimates early this year. It’s pivoting to increase hybrid model production.
Bloomberg reported that EVs’ average worldwide range jumped from 143 miles in 2018 to 210 miles in 2022, with U.S. numbers higher than that due to bigger models, longer driving distances, and the market dominance of Tesla, with its higher-range offerings. It said average lithium-ion battery pack sizes have consequently increased 10% each year of the same period to 60 kilowatt hours, and that more electric pickup models in the U.S. will further inflate the average here.
The growth in production and range amounts to added pressure on an already limited materials supply. The Biden administration has taken steps to increase EV production and sourcing in North America in order to curb greenhouse gas emissions and make the U.S. more independent of Chinese sources.