Detroit News: Ajit Sharma on EV battery cell supply chain
As Ford Motor Co. enters what CEO Jim Farley calls the "first inning" of its transition to electric vehicles, it faces a decision that could shape the success of its electric-vehicle strategy: whether to make the battery cells that power EVs. The Dearborn automaker so far has opted to buy battery cells from its suppliers, citing the flexibility the supply chain provides as battery-cell technology continues to evolve and the larger production scale that would be needed to justify such a massive investment. But with the global industry inching closer to an electric future, and the Blue Oval committed to investing more than $11.5 billion in electric vehicles by 2022, that calculus may change. Crosstown rival General Motors Co. and electric-vehicle maker Tesla Inc. are all in on producing their own battery cells with joint-venture partners, and experts say every major automaker in the world is likely considering doing the same. "Automotive firms that want to be major players in the future need to own their battery supply chain," said Ajit Sharma, a Wayne State University faculty member who studies the EV supply chain.