The automakers will never admit it, but their pessimistic predictions about the popularity of electric vehicles have come back to bite them — hard. They spent all their time preaching “nobody wants to buy electric cars” and they believed their own words. As a result, they failed to arrange for enough batteries for their electrified models.
Audi stopped production of its e-tron at its factory in Belgium for 4 days because it didn’t have enough battery packs, according to Automotive News Europe. That’s not a long time, but it is indicative of the company’s failure to plan for adequate battery supplies from the LG Chem factory in Poland that it gets its batteries from. Audi says it expects to sell 80,000 e-trons this year, but LG Chem will only be able to supply enough battery cells to power half that many cars, forcing Audi to look elsewhere for its batteries, according to Germany’s Handlesblatt.
Audi has plans to add a more coupe-like version of the e-tron called the Sportback later this year and is moving ahead with plans to manufacture an electric sedan that will be called the e-tron GT. Reportedly, the company sold 26,400 e-tron SUVs last year. Audi has declined to announce sales figures for 2020 so far.
Audi is not the only European automaker to face battery supply issues. Jaguar, which also gets battery cells from the LG Chem factory in Poland, has announced it is cutting production of its I-PACE electric SUV until it can get its supply chain in order. Mercedes-Benz is hotly denying a report by Manager Magazin that it has cut its production target for its EQC electric SUV this year from 60,000 to 30,000 vehicles due to constraints from its battery supplier, which is — you guessed it — LG Chem.
Hyundai and Kia are also experiencing problems getting enough batteries to meet the demand for their electric cars, the Hyundai Kona and the KIA Niro. They also rely heavily on LG Chem, but once again, it seems senior management failed to understand how many people are willing to step up to buy appealing electric cars. They thought they only needed to sell a few to offset the new EU emissions rules. Surprise, surprise. People are in showrooms clamoring for the cars but Hyundai and KIA have none to sell. How many times did CleanTechnica writers predict this?
When will these companies learn? People want electric cars. The secret of sales is to give the customer what the customer wants when the customer wants it. Enough of this namby-pamby, halfhearted response to the revolution Tesla started. What do we want? Electric cars. When do we want them. NOW!