Updates In The EV Industry: 4/9/2021

President Biden is pushing hard to get more Americans to buy EVs in order to combat global warming and encourage domestic manufacturing with a $2 trillion infrastructure plan he is trying to sell to Congress that includes about $174 billion to boost EV sales and production, which is more than the president proposes spending on roads and bridges. The EV market is developing full speed ahead across the globe, with Europe and China being already ahead of the US in the race towards an all-electric future.

Peugeot Is Coming After Volkswagen And Tesla

As Stellantis NV STLA came to life as Fiat Chrysler FCAU and Groupe PSA joined forces, one of their subsidiary brands recently revealed a fully electric Peugeot 308 will arrive in 2023 to challenge Volkswagen's VWAGY multi-billion euro gamble to challenge Tesla Inc's TSLA electric car dominance, the ID.3. Despite initial software problems, VW's first all-electric vehicle has been well received with the investment bank UBS declaring it to be a viable threat to Tesla, with a huge family of electric vehicles across the VW brand empire coming along in the near future.

The recent petit e-208, an all-electric version of the popular 208 hatchback made a great first impression with its blend of style, driving dynamics, gadgets and range. The e-208 is currently the quickest and most powerful 208 variant on sale and the upcoming e-308 could become Europe's best-looking hatchback. Specifics regarding e-308 are rather scarce, besides the fact that it is in the works and that it's going to debut in 2023.

The Future Of The U.S. EV Market Hangs In The Balance

President Biden has until Sunday to intervene in a dispute between two major South Korean battery producers over the fate of lithium-ion battery factories in Georgia. His decision carries major implications for plans of US automakers to produce new EVs over the coming years. The outcome threatens Biden's EV goals for the United States and the Democratic Party's fragile success in the key state.

The Battle Of Two South Korean Corporations

SK Innovation has built a large battery factory northeast of Atlanta, in the city of Commerce, with another factory alongside it being under construction, and a third in the works. But, earlier this year, SK said its operations in Georgia may be shut down due to a ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission of its dispute with LG Chem. Despite a deep political division in the state, Democrats and Republicans have found common ground in trying to save the factories. The stakes are high as letting the ruling stand could damage the Democratic Party's credibility in Georgia and hobble a key supplier in a domestic EV market already hungry for batteries. On the other hand, vetoing the decision would call into question the administration's global efforts to advance intellectual property protections, which is a major priority from an economic perspective.

The Detroit Battle Lines Are Clearly Drawn

For the needs of its electric pickup F-150 which is due next year, Ford has contracted with SK Innovation which has been accused of destroying evidence in a case alleging stolen trade secrets. SK threatened to withdraw its battery business from the U.S. altogether if Biden doesn't overturn the decision, which would leave Ford Motor Company F and Volkswagen with diminished bargaining power with remaining suppliers.

On the other end, General Motors Company GM has a joint venture with at least one more planned with LG Chem. In addition to GM, some of LG's major clients include Tesla Inc. and Hyundai Motor Company HYMTF.

A Tough Decision To Make

Now it's up to the Biden administration to decide whether to get involved. This situation illustrates the fragility of U.S. automakers' battery supply chains as traditional automakers are investing heavily in their EV infrastructure but remain reliant on Asian suppliers to provide the energy to power their EVs. President Biden needs to find a way not to condone unfair trade practices but support policies that will support the United States in becoming a leader in the EV market while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions.

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