VW’s U.S. executive draws attention to EV industry challenges
VW Group of America CEO Scott Keogh has warned that the United States could face challenges in the electric vehicle industry as battery production and skilled labor need to be ramped up to meet to growing demand.
Keogh, said to a Automotive News forum in Washington that the shift to electric vehicles is the biggest “industrial transformation in America” and that the country must work diligently to ensure this trend continues. He particularly highlighted the need for skilled labor, key raw resources and supply chain issues.
As the country boosts electric vehicles and battery-powered cars, he reminded everyone to be aware of the challenges in the electric vehicle industry. He said Reuters on the sidelines of the forum that by 2030, the United States could provide jobs for hundreds of people in the production of batteries for electric vehicles. He said: “It comes down to labor, it comes down to infrastructure, it comes down to investment.”
Production of electric vehicles in America
In 2021, the electric vehicle market in the United States grew by leaps and bounds, breaking records with nearly 607,600 light electric vehicles sold, up nearly 83% from 2018. While Tesla dominated the market of plug-in electric vehicles in 2021, it was closely followed by the Volkswagen Group, whose sales of electric vehicles have exploded worldwide. Encouragingly, the statements of the CEO of VW North America indicate the change in consumer mentality and serve as good advice to future EV titans. While the US government has pledged to make half of all vehicle sales zero emissions by 2030, many automakers and battery manufacturers have invested billions to make this goal a reality. . High energy targets are in place as factories across North America work to increase EV battery production and EV offerings.
According to Keogh, the United States manufactures 150,000 to 200,000 batteries per year and that in seven years the country must be equipped to produce 8.5 million batteries per year to meet demand. Regarding his future prospects, he commented, “It’s a scale of investment that, honestly, is going to make the Industrial Revolution look like a walk in the park. It’s massive. He also noted that it is imperative to increase manufacturing capacity.
In early June, the CEO of VW Group of America said CNBC in an interview that they “are actively looking at another production facility and also a battery facility.” The German automaker plans to establish new assembly and battery facilities in the United States to capitalize on what it sees as an upcoming and lucrative market. The current administration is keen to promote the production of electric vehicles in the country. Volkswagen previously committed $7.1 billion to boost electric vehicle efforts in North America.
He stressed that a concentrated effort must be made to turn America back into a manufacturing society. In 2000, the US manufacturing sector accounted for almost 17 million jobs, but today the number has fallen sharply and hovers around 12.8 million. He observed that the United States has shifted from manufacturing to service industry. “The challenge of getting someone who used to work at a Starbucks to take 20-minute breaks, smoke a cigarette in the back, and now hop into a factory…is a whole new world.” He also admitted that it will be “brutal, difficult and challenging work”.
Overall, in the United States, manufacturers were looking to increase their research and development spending as electric vehicles have takers in Millennials and Gen Z who are more likely to purchase an electric vehicle rather than a gasoline vehicle. Automakers are also working to increase options in the electric vehicle segment, buoyed by record sales from Tesla, which currently dominates the U.S. electric vehicle market. The challenges in the electric vehicle industry can be overcome slowly and surely and more competitors are entering the market, bringing better vehicles to customers, as well as jobs.