Tavares said he expects batteries to be in short supply by 2024 or 2025, followed by a deficit in the raw materials needed for EVs in 2027 or 2028.
“The speed at which we are trying to move all together for the right reason, which is fixing the global warming issue,” Tavares said, “is so high that the supply chain and production capacities have no time to adjust.”
Building out the EV supply chain so that it provides sufficient quantities of affordable materials such as lithium in the time frame automakers are targeting is a significant challenge, said Sam Fiorani, vice president global vehicle forecasting at Auto- Forecast Solutions, which tracks auto production.
“The issue is that there is a shortage of facilities designed to both mine and then refine the lithium,” Fiorani said. “Environmental regulations, permitting and facility construction all conspire to lengthen the amount of time needed to deploy new lithium mining and refining facilities. Neodymium and other magnetic rare earths are concentrated in geographic areas and countries where politics interfere with supply.”
On the regulatory side, Tavares said he is hoping for stability when it comes to environmental standards. Tavares has been critical in the past of politicians whom he says have goaded the industry to adopt EVs, which are more costly to produce but need to be kept affordable for middle-class consumers.
“Stop playing with the rules,” Tavares said. “Leave the rules as they are and let people work properly with a lot of focus and a lot of rigor.”