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Electric car supplies are running out – and could drastically slow down the journey to net-zero
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Electric car supplies are running out – and could drastically slow down the journey to net-zero

Empty parking space reserved for electric vehicles.


The road map to replacing old fashioned carbon emitting cars with electric vehicles is well developed – at least in theory. All major car manufacturers (and some of their subsidiaries) are involved in the transition to electric vehicles. The smaller ones) are publicly committed to electric.

But buying an electric vehicle is the real challenge. That’s another matter entirely.

Volkswagen, the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, has announced that it had recently acquired Sold outfor the remainder 2022 in Europe and the US. Ford’s E-Transit sold out before it had even You can start making them.

Even the most basic (lower specification) version of Tesla’s Model 3 vehicle will now not be Delivered for more than a year, despite the company being capable of the largest production volumes in the world – a recent halt in production in China notwithstanding.

Rewind the clock to 2019, when the electric car revolution was really taking root Sales figuresTesla had cars ready to go in the UK and could deliver them to customers within days. You will likely have to wait for a new vehicle, even though they can make more.

For the moment, however, those motorists who desire to own an electric vehicle will not be able to make it happen. The same will be true for governments that intend to ban new petrol or diesel cars. Norway is an example of a country that has enacted a ban. 2025It is in the UK. 2030.

These targets are largely based on the cycle of Vehicle replacement. To ensure that old vehicles can be replaced with newer ones, supply must be at a level where it can replenish those being disposed of, and allow for some growth in demand.

There are not enough electric cars being produced at the moment to meet this demand. I am involved in Continual research looking into how and when various firms are replacing their old internal combustion engine vehicles with electric ones – and one of the major barriers seems to be sourcing them. The government may soon find it impossible to meet its targets for electric vehicles on roads.

End of the road?

So what went wrong? In the beginning, electric vehicle manufacturers played safe in the early days. This was a new and unknown world for them, and it wasn’t clear if other competing technologies (Hydrogen power, for example.Consumers might prefer to use ) more often. But batteries won out, and consumer demand – helped along by those plans to ban petrol and diesel – soared.

COVID-19, which has a global impact on supply chains and a shortage in semiconductors, an essential component of modern vehicles, have contributed to current problems.

Continue reading:
How the world ran out semiconductors

In spring 2022 Tesla had to close its Shanghai plant. For three weeksChina lockdowns. It was producing approximately 200,000 tons before that. 2,000 cars per dayAround 42,000 vehicles may have been lost in production for both the Asian and European markets.

Empty parking space reserved for electric vehicles.
Space for more.
Kemaro/Alamy Stock Photo

This equates to around three months’ supply for a market like the UK. It had to close the factory just as it was about to reopen. Reduce productionSupply chain issues

This is because Tesla doesn’t make all the parts to build the cars in the one factory (although it produces more than the Industry averageSo, as Tesla’s factories are also closed due to lockdowns the parts that are needed do not arrive. Elon Musk, CEO, has suggested that his company may cease accepting orders. Telling the Financial Times: “The frustration we’re seeing from customers is being unable to get them a car.”

He added: “We are actually probably going to stop taking orders beyond a certain period of time because some of the timing is a year away.”

It’s not just Tesla that is being affected. Many vehicles are being affected by semiconductor problems. Shipped without features, or parked on fields We are still waiting for parts.

These backlogs will be difficult to clear and will cause a lot of headaches for everyone. Customers and manufacturers will be frustrated. Politicians who rely on electric vehicles to shape the future of transport policy might need to adjust their expectations.

The worst part is that the current situation is a major setback to global efforts. Reduce carbon emissionsTake action on climate change.

It could be disastrous for the planet to push back important targets on road vehicle use, but we still need them. We may have to shift towards less car use, such as ride-sharing and other modes of transport. Or, we might consider converting older cars to electric. If we don’t, the drive to net-zero could soon be running on empty.


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