Jaguar's electric I-Pace crossover may be utterly terrific, but its sales haven't exactly set the world alight. It will come as no surprise that Jaguar is suspending production of the model, but not for the reasons you would expect, such as ridding itself of excess inventory. Instead, a temporary shutdown caused by a shortage of batteries needed to build the I-Pace is going into effect next week.
Jaguar Land Rover told its suppliers and employees that the Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria will pause I-Pace production for a week starting Monday, February 17 because LG Chem has struggled to supply enough batteries to sustain production.
"Jaguar Land Rover has adjusted production schedules of the Jaguar I-Pace in Graz due to temporary supplier scheduling issues," a JLR spokesperson said in an email to The Drive. "We are working with the supplier to resolve this and minimize impact on customer orders."
The supply's interruption is not, as you may expect, a complication of the international coronavirus outbreak, the epicenter of which is but a few hundred miles from LG Chem's twin Nanjing plants, leaving the South Korean electronics giant on high alert according to PV Magazine. Instead, the batteries that power the I-Pace are assembled at LG Chem's Wroclaw, Poland factory, which supplies multiple automakers, each of which has grievances with the plant.
Audi, Jaguar Land Rover, and Mercedes-Benz alike depend on this Polish factory to produce the lithium-ion batteries used in their respective E-Tron, I-Pace, and EQC electric crossovers. All three automakers have scaled back production plans on their respective E-CUVs, which Germany's Manager Magazin attributed to quality control issues at LG Chem's Wroclaw plant. Belgian media also implicated this facility as the cause of Audi E-Tron production delays, as reported by Electrive.
Though global battery manufacturing capacity was predicted in 2017 to double by 2021, the rapidly electrifying automotive industry still anticipates widespread battery shortages. Automakers have scrambled to ally themselves with suppliers such as LG Chem and Panasonic or kickstarted new businesses to produce batteries to circumvent existing supply chains. Both approaches have their shortcomings, however, and neither offers immunity to limited global supply of cobalt and lithium, each of which is needed to produce lithium-ion batteries.
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