EVs aren’t just an environmentalist purchase motivated by eco-conscious consumerism — it’s a practical move in light of chaotic fuel prices that gives drivers some of their agency back. Worldwide legislation is pushing to electrify commercial and personal fleets and now needs to consider how the automotive industry can keep up with EV demand..
As drivers take advantage of the long-term financial relief of owning an EV and the temporary government incentives, EVs are rolling out of car lots at optimistic rates. However, can EV suppliers keep up with demand when there are numerous stressors in the industry?
The COVID-19 pandemic elevated the phrase “supply chain disruption” to the common household vernacular. A mixture of this awareness plus tax credits makes consumers feel a sense of urgency — invest now in an EV, or the unstable, localized supply chain may not give them a chance.
Supply chains suffer from understaffing, raw material scarcity and pressures from international conflict impacting trade. Some influences are within a company’s control, while others seem so disparate from automotive industry concerns it looks like the issue will never leave. Automotive dealers can attain supply chain resilience with several techniques:
- Supply chain diversification: Relying on one supplier for specific parts, such as the prized lithium-ion battery, can lead to bottlenecks in manufacturing. Having multiple avenues for essential parts and supplies will keep doors open.
- Invest in recycling infrastructure: Mining and extraction for materials are costly and strenuous, with limited geographical regions that support it. Putting effort into recycling can help reduce material demand by encouraging a circular economy.
- Research and development (R&D): Some EV materials may need enhancing or reworking to meet modern demand and climate goals. Companies with the resources should seek ways to improve EV construction, from LiDAR sensors to ventilation systems, to streamline complex designs reliant upon hard-to-access resources.
The EV world has a knowledge gap from consumer and workforce standpoints. EV makers must create internal training programs to prepare tenured mechanics and ICE professionals to adjust to the EV world. On the outside, buyers must discern from potential anti-environmentalist journalism to parse the facts about how EVs operate, and wading through contrarian information can overwhelm vehicle purchasers. Widespread access to honest information about EVs could empower aspiring EV drivers and future workforces.
Green skills are hard to find in current and budding talent. EV adoption is happening more rapidly than educational systems can adjust, so employers must lend a hand to traditional education to fulfill the need for more specially trained professionals. For example, instructing mechanics on preventive maintenance on EV manufacturing machines could reduce costs by 25%, but companies must provide those opportunities for staff. More skilled hands in the automotive industry can’t solve parts scarcity, but it could help the automotive industry keep up with EV demand.
AI and machine learning (ML) guide the automotive industry more than consumers may know. However, vehicle companies could leverage them more than they already do for process discovery. Batteries are one of the most notable examples. Incorporated AI in vehicles and chargers can send engineers data on battery efficiency to guide future blueprints.
These data points are critical because improving batteries could reduce the EV demand stress by making batteries more powerful and capable, especially when the carbon footprint of EVs is just as high as gas-powered cars. Fewer battery replacements and vehicle repurchases would occur because cars have more durability and longer life spans, easing demand.
An apparent panacea for numerous issues in any industry is buy-in — literally and metaphorically. EV makers need internal and external investors for everything from R&D to opening new locations for greater accessibility. However, EV makers are vying for shareholder interest in one of the most competitive markets. What is this manufacturer bringing to the conversation that others are not? How will companies achieve buy-in from forces that may not be as eco-conscious?
Internal budget finagling can assist with some demand issues, such as reducing resources in ICEs. However, the mere idea of reworking business operations to adjust for demand is an expense that companies may need help to fund. Meanwhile, legacy makers have the most catch-up work to do because they have the most innovation to undergo.
There are myriad strategies automotive dealers can use to minimize EV demand anxiety. Through training workers and reevaluating supply chains, makers can discover new ways to optimize their business and products for longevity and efficiency. These industry-wide improvements double as long-term solutions for improving companies’ bottom lines and making the EV industry more sustainable.