• Oct 5, 2010
U.S.-based plug-in vehicle producers and battery makers are faced with a problem of epic proportions. A recent report released by the subscription news service ClimateWire suggests that U.S.-made electric cars – and the associated high-tech li-ion batteries produced on U.S. soil – face a maze of export restrictions that will force many of the companies to set up shop abroad.
Here's the potential problem: Li-ion batteries are bulky and incredibly heavy. Translation, they don't ship well, which impacts exports and imports. But, electric vehicles manufactured in the U.S. face trade restrictions that effectively block exportation to many countries. Translation, U.S. automakers can't profitably export them, whether it's China's "requests" or taxes and regulations in Europe. This is not at all surprising to U.S.-based battery manufacturers like A123 Systems and, in fact, export limitations were anticipated. But for the vast majority of American politicians, the realization that U.S.-based companies will have to set up shop abroad and employ foreign help to sell their high-tech gadgetry doesn't sit well.

A123 Systems vice president for automotive solutions, Jason Forcier, outlines the export issues and presents a feasible solution in this way:

Can we export our batteries to China? The answer is no. You have to build them in-country. And China's making sure that it happens by the way that they're structuring incentives. So European business will be won and made in Europe; Asian business will be won and made in Asia. Really, the key to growing the battery industry in the United States is, we have to create the demand, right here. Yes, we may not be the biggest auto industry in the world anymore, but the demand has to come from the U.S. in order to create energy independence and jobs in the United States

In order to keep jobs here, U.S. demand for EV components must rise. Otherwise, the risk of exporting yet another industry away from U.S. soil could be quite high.

[Source: Green Car Advisor]


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  • 5 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a scream! The chinese do use both sides of their brainsat the same time!
      • 4 Years Ago
      that doesn't quite true though. cars in china maybe. but A123 batteries to europe is not a problem at all. nor is their weight a shipping problem..

      the biggest problem A123 faces is their own stupidity in denying sales..
      you can't actually buy their cells because they consider that an intolerable hazzle. who needs websales. that's just crazy..
      as a battery manufacturer the last thing you want is additional sales of your product.

      so if China steals A123 design and replicates it then I welcome that with open arms. then we might actually be able to get the cells.
      but should they wake up there is absolutly no problem in selling to Europe. probably 50 million dollar annual sales in USA too if they wanted to sell the cells there too..
      • 4 Years Ago
      I see the reason our work is going out of the country. The rules made by other countries are set up to set us up and our Congress goes along with the concept. Time to make up our own rules...no more free rides to U.S. industry. If you ship work to other countries, you pay tariffs to bring the products back into the country(period). Some will say this will start a trade war. I say"bring it on." We are losing anyway being the nice guys.
        • 4 Years Ago
        China's currency is severely devalued already. In essence, they have been waging a trade war against us for decades.

        Having a 'free market' is great until you no longer can compete. We certainly need to do something.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Here's the potential problem: Li-ion batteries are bulky and incredibly heavy. Translation, they don't ship well, which impacts exports and imports"

      Defies logic...and completely twists the point of the source article.

      Did Eric Loveday even read the source article?? It clearly said *CARS* don't usually ship long distances. To twist that to say the battery packs themselves are too heavy to ship is utter stupidity.

      "Historically, most cars haven't been traded across borders; they are too heavy to ship long distances, and countries have raised steep trade barriers to protect their domestic companies, ClimateWire notes."

      The number one reason any battery manufacturer would have problems is because of trade restrictions, put up by countries (like China) trying to build their own domestic EV industries. Obviously A123 or any manufacture doesn't need to put their battery in a car to ship it. They can ship the packs and let the automaker install it at the destination country, or just manufacture oversees.