The Demand For Electric Cars Is Piling Pressure on Supplies For Electric Car Batteries.

With the switch to Electric vehicles gathering pace there are musings in the industry that car-makers may struggle to meet the growing demand. One of the main stumbling blocks seems to be the availability and supply of electric car batteries. 

The main issue is that whilst there are lithium-ion battery factories in Europe, they do not make the cells. These are supplied by Asian companies, such as Samsung, Panasonic, CATL and LG Chem. So how can these issues of supply and demand be tackled? 

What Are The Car-Makers Saying?

Peugeot

Peugeot chairman and CEO, Carlos Tavares, has been urging the European Parliament to provide the necessary support to instigate production in the EU for the past year.

Peugeot are pressing on with their dedication to the electric car. They anticipate that 12% of 208 registrations next year, (approx 2,400 units) will be the full electric version – the e-208. The car-maker is also starting plans for a future where every car and van model will have an electric option within four years.

Deliveries of the new small car will start at the end of the year or the beginning of 2020. Reservations will be opening in March and orders from the summer.

Peugeot UK managing director David Peel said: “We are confident we will have the supply that we need to meet our forecast demand.

Kia

Battery supply is one of the main reasons why orders for Kia’s full electric e-Niro has outstripped its UK allocation. The carmaker hopes the situation will improve for 2020 as it prepares for the new Soul EV.

Kia has taken just more than 1,000 orders for its allocation of 1,000 e-Niros, with deliveries commencing in the next couple of months. Dealers are telling customers that they are looking at quarter one 2020 if they order now. 

Paul Philpott – Kia Motors UK Chief Executive Officer told Fleet News;  

“We have to be upfront with them, although we are trying to secure more production,” It’s a global supply chain, not just Europe or the UK and battery supply can’t keep pace with demand, which is growing at a significant rate. We have to manage the situation but we can’t say when it will free-up. Our customers are prepared to wait.”

European carmakers are working hard to bring battery supply closer to home. Germany has earmarked €1 billion (£860 million) to support a consortium looking to produce EV battery cells.

BMW & VW

There are also plans to fund a research facility to develop next-generation solid-state batteries. More than 30 companies have applied, including BMW and the Volkswagen Group.

The latter recently announced plans to make 22 million EVs within the next 10 years – seven million more than its original ambition 

The number of new electric models it plans to launch within the same timescale has increased from 50 to 70.

Volkswagen will start taking reservations for its first ID model – the manufacturer’s new family of electric cars – in May, almost six months before the car is unveiled at autumn’s Frankfurt Motor Show.

The hatchback will start from less than €30,000 (£25,700) and it will have a range of up to 342 miles.

However, the manufacturer’s board member for sales, Jurgen Stackman admitted: “Given the interest in the ID family shown by our dealers, I think it is possible the launch edition will already have sold out before we unveil it in September.”

What Else is Being Done To Speed Things Up?

Recognising a growing demand for EVs and the batteries to power them, the European Commission set up the European Battery Alliance (EBA) in 2017.

Its objective is to create a competitive manufacturing value chain in Europe, with sustainable battery cells at its core, and to prevent a technological dependence on the block’s competitors.

It also wants to capitalise on the job growth and investment potential of batteries, which could be worth up to €250bn (£214bn) a year to the EU from 2025 onwards.

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