The global supply chain is in a constant battle with the ripples caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But not all products being shipped are created equal. After a study by the American Chemical Society, it’s been revealed that hybrid electric vehicles are far more susceptible to the supply disruptions than their purely-gasoline peers. That’s not to say that hybrid electric and purely electric vehicles are somehow lesser—they will likely play a large part in our fight against emissions. But some of the components required to put one of these environmentally friendly vehicles together are right now either in short supply or the movement of those components and materials are being slowed by other supply disruptions.
Let’s take a dive into how the tumultuous world of global supply right now is affecting the hybrid electric market…
Make a Hybrid Vehicle and Just Put It on a Boat or a Truck, Right?
If only it were that simple to get the job done. The best way to look at the shipping of a finished product like a car is to assess its various components. Without those components, the hybrid car can’t even be shipped on a boat or a truck. When the American Chemical Society did their study, their researched found roughly 350,000 parts that make up just seven vehicles for a single manufacturer. Of those parts, they calculated there to be 76 different chemical elements and other materials needed to put one vehicle together.
Taking just one of those components or materials, you could see how each is subjected to the wider market, and how the market affects the costs to buy and sell that material or the finished component. Putting those prices to each component and material in our presently fluctuating global market, and you’ll have an equation with an ever-changing result that can make producing a car and selling a car seem like mathematical gymnastics.
But what’s changing all these prices for these many components and materials? It all goes back to the global supply chain and how it’s being impacted by COVID-19 and climate change. With every disaster that causes another upset in the global supply chain, prices shift again, and usually those shifts are in a bad way. This can make production harder as the cost to make a hybrid vehicle collectively rises.
A Solution to the Green Vehicle Supply Issue
Our hybrid electric and full electric vehicles are complex machines that require a lot of special materials to make them operate properly. Our global supply issues are exacerbated by the lack of infrastructure that revolves around these types of vehicles. As more research is done to improve vehicle architecture, find substitute materials, and develop better recycling infrastructure, eventually hybrid electric and full electric vehicles will be easy to produce and even easier to buy! But until then, the world may have to deal with unpredictable shortages of these green vehicles from time to time.
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