It seems most automakers are now planning for an electric car future. However, with most companies moving forward at around the same time, battery cells and materials are already in high demand. To make matters worse, the global financial situation is in rough shape, and many people are suggesting a recession is upon us.
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares is among the many who are concerned about what lies ahead. He's made it clear that there won't likely be enough batteries to keep up with automakers' goals. The CEO also told reporters he's keeping watch on the economy, since a recession may be imminent.
In order to prepare Stellantis' brands for success with EVs, Tavares shared that the company plans to open a battery factory in Kokomo, Indiana, in 2025. If Stellantis follows through and succeeds, the upcoming factory will join several other new EV battery factories on our shores.
Like many others in the field, Tavares believes batteries may be hard to come by in 2024 or 2025. He also believes that by 2027 or 2028, there simply won't be enough raw materials for the number of EVs that are expected to be on the market. Tavares said:
"We are in the Darwinian world. The guys who survive are the guys that adapt, and we will have to adapt if that reality materializes."
"The speed at which we are trying to move all together for the right reason, which is fixing the global warming issue is so high that the supply chain and production capacities have no time to adjust."
That said, it only makes sense for automakers to begin making big plans to assure that they've paved the way for their own successful EV supply chain. This is especially true if they're actually serious about electric vehicles, and it really needs to happen sooner rather than later. Each automaker that beats Stellantis – or any other rival – to market with compelling EVs will obviously work to make batteries and raw materials even more scarce for those lagging behind.
According to Sam Fiorani via Automotive News, there's simply a shortage of facilities that mine and refine lithium. He also points to bottlenecks caused by environmental regulations, as well as permitting related to the construction of new facilities. Fiorani is the vice president global vehicle forecasting at Auto-Forecast Solutions, a company that tracks automotive production.
Tavares went on to reiterate that he's not a fan of the governments and/or politicians trying to push companies to adopt EVs more quickly. He notes that electric cars are expensive to manufacture, and it's important to make cars that are affordable for the masses. He added:
"Stop playing with the rules. Leave the rules as they are and let people work properly with a lot of focus and a lot of rigor."
Stellantis' upcoming battery factory in Indiana is part of a joint venture with battery supplier Samsung SDI. Samsung aims to invest over $2.5 billion to prepare to produce battery cells and modules for a long list of EVs that Stellantis will eventually build in North America. The companies hope to break ground for the effort later this year, which they say will create 1,400 new jobs. Indiana will help with incentives of nearly $200 million.
Source: Automotive News