Looking To Sidestep Gas Prices? Expect Long Delays for New Electric Vehicles (If You Can Find Them At All)

Electric car at the charging station stock photo
U. J. Alexander / iStock.com

More Americans might start ordering electric vehicles as gas prices continue their climb into the stratosphere. However, that doesn’t mean their cars will be delivered any time soon. Like the rest of the auto industry, the EV industry has been plagued by supply-chain issues that have led to delays getting new vehicles into the hands of buyers.

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In fact, the supply-chain problem might be worse for the EV sector because of its heavier reliance on items that face global shortages, such as microchips and specialized battery materials and chemicals.

“Supply-chain delays are impacting EVs even more than gas-powered vehicles,” Alex Chew, head of Auto Partnerships at car insurance app Jerry, told GOBankingRates in an email. “If you purchased an EV tomorrow, you may still be driving and paying to fuel your current car for months until your EV arrives.”

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Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine further disrupted the global supply chain — and helped push U.S. gas prices to record highs — EV manufacturers faced production and delivery delays.

“It may be difficult for them to catch up now with EV interest increasing,” Chew said.

For proof, look no further than Rivian Automotive. On Mar. 10, the EV manufacturer warned that supply-chain issues could cut its planned production in half in 2022, Reuters reported. Although Rivian has recently ramped up production, it expects supply-chain constraints to continue throughout the year.

“As we continue to ramp up our manufacturing facility, manage supply chain challenges, face continued inflationary pressures and minimize price increases to customers in the near term, we expect to recognize negative gross margins throughout 2022,” Rivian said in a letter to shareholders.

Rivian and other EV startups, along with legacy automakers like Ford Motor and General Motors, had hoped to deliver more EVs this year to take on market leader Tesla, which has faced its own supply-chain problems.

In November 2021, the Elon Musk-led company extended the wait time for Tesla Model 3s from eight to 12 weeks, according to The Driven website. That wait time was later extended even further to 14-20 weeks.

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Overall U.S. vehicle inventory levels — including gas-powered vehicles — are down about 60% from a year ago and 70% from 2020, CNBC reported, citing data from Cox Automotive. EVs and hybrids, which represent only a tiny percentage of that total, might be particularly hard to find.

“If your plan is to switch to an EV, a hybrid or even a small vehicle, good luck,” Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Cox Automotive, told CNBC. “There are not many of them available.”

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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