Feb 23, 2023 - Economy

Struggles mount for electric vehicle industry

Illustration of an electric vehicle and a charging station at the edge of a cliff.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Things are not well in the world of EVs.

Why it matters: Multiple companies face serious financial woes. Further missteps across the industry could set it back years.

Driving the news: Lordstown Motors said Thursday it stopped production and customer delivery to address quality and performance issues.

  • It also initiated a voluntary recall for its Endurance electric truck to address a specific electrical connection issue that could result in a loss of propulsion while driving.
  • The recall affects 19 total vehicles, the company says.
  • A Lordstown spokesperson declined to comment further on the news, and pointed to the March 6 earnings call for additional details.

Between the lines: Lordstown has delivered just 19 or fewer Endurance vehicles to customers since it began production in September. The company had targeted 50 units for delivery by the end of 2022.

State of play: Lordstown joins other EV makers like Canoo that have struggled to ramp up production and get vehicles into the hands of customers. The pain is being felt widely.

  • EVmo, a company that loans EVs to rideshare drivers, received notice that it defaulted on a $7.5 million loan last week as its board chairman resigned.
  • Rivian, another public EV maker, recently announced its intent to get into e-bike production as its own EV troubles mounted.
  • Tesla recently unleashed a torrent of discounts in an effort to spur customer demand.

Yes, but: Legacy OEMs have been largely spared, though Ford recently halted production on its Lightning F-150 electric truck due to a potential battery issue.

Meanwhile, EV demand in China has also slowed, though the country remains the top EV market globally, largely due to its years-long effort to build out lithium production with generous government support.

  • Tesla's price cuts were partly due to slowing demand in China, the company said.

The bottom line: We wrote about the rocky road ahead for EV makers eight months ago, and the situation has only gone from bad to worse since then.

Megan Hernbroth co-authors the Axios Pro Climate deals newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter.

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