The electric vehicle industry had a rough ride this past week, but most signs still point to a future fast lane of phenomenal growth.
Shortly after it had announced plans for a massive battery manufacturing plant in Michigan, Ford Motor Co. halted production of its most famous EV so far, the F-150 Lightning truck, due to a battery fire problem detected during testing. The company temporarily shut down Lightning production at its Detroit plant.
Meanwhile, industry leader Tesla announced it was recalling some 363,000 vehicles due to safety issues with the self-driving software. The recall covers Tesla’s S, X, 3 and Y models.
According to some news reports, the concerns about Tesla’s software did not come from the company itself but a review by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the U.S.
Ford expects production to be idled at least through next week.
Of course, there are issues which can happen with internal combustion engine models but are rarely as publicized as those in the fledgling e-mobility industry. Skepticism reigns among many outside the industry, wary of the grid's ability to meet future demand as well as solving issues such as range fear and recharging times.
Optimism reigns among EV proponents, of course, as seen by numerous companies announcing new battery manufacturing capacity to ramp up in the U.S.
The latest was Ford’s own announcement earlier this week. The automaker plans to invest $3.5 billion to build a plant assembling lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry batteries at a new plant in Marshall, Michigan.
The company also is investing in U.S. production capacity around nickel cobalt manganese, giving it viable options to the predominant lithium-ion chemistry used in most current EV and utility-scale energy storage.
Mercedes Benz also reported higher than expected earnings of about 5.4 billion Euros, citing sales of electric vehicles rising some 67 percent year over year. EVs are key to German automaker’s future growth plans.