British luxury vehicle manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover is reportedly halting production of its best-selling I-Pace electric car due to a shortage of batteries.
The news was reported over the weekend by British newspaper The Times, which claimed that production would halt on the I-Pace “for a week from Monday next week because of a shortage of lithium-ion batteries.”
Lithium-ion batteries for the I-Pace are supplied by South Korean electronics giant LG Chem and manufactured in Wroclaw, Poland.
Unsurprisingly, at the time of writing, neither Jaguar or LG Chem had published any official word of the reports.
However, a Jaguar Land Rover spokesperson confirmed to electrive that production of the I-Pace “had to be reduced at short notice due to a supply bottleneck,” and that all parties were working on a solution to minimise the impact on customer orders.
Jaguar is not the first automotive manufacturer to suffer battery supply issues, nor even companies affected by LG Chem supply issues specifically.
In April last year, German auto manufacturer Audi AG moved to reduce planned production for its e-tron electric SUV due to battery supply issues, with one factory inside reportedly explaining that “There are tons of problems with LG, who supplies the battery cells.”
And just last month, another German auto manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz, confirmed they were also suffering battery shortage issues from LG Chem.
Despite widespread anticipation that global battery manufacturing capacity will expand, there are still major concerns around battery shortages as demand outstrips supply.
German business and trade publication Handelsblatt highlighted a discrepancy in sales figures between companies like Mercedes-Benz and other electric vehicle manufacturers, such as BMW which sold more than 9,000 electric vehicles in Germany in 2019, and Tesla close to 11,000.
Conversely, Mercedes-Benz reportedly only sold 700 EVs in 2019 due to what Handelsblatt described as “a lack of battery cells and too little knowledge of cell chemistry”.
Specifically, according to Handelsblatt, “LG Chem does not manage to deliver enough cells of consistently good quality and in the company’s own battery assembly in Kamenz you also struggle with the pitfalls of cell thickness growth and heat management”.
Unfortunately, if these issues cannot be addressed, future supply issues are almost guaranteed, as political targets and ambitions are only increasing the demand for electric vehicles across Europe, and the rest of the world.
With the United Kingdom moving forward their ban on ICE vehicles to 2035, Ireland moving to ban ICE vehicles by 2030, and agitation among EU Member States to ban ICE vehicles across the Union, battery supply issues will only worsen if measures are not taken quickly to find alternative lithium-ion battery manufacturing and supply.