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Biden administration review attempts to boost American EV supply chain

It comes after Ford's CEO called on the US government to support domestic battery production and charging infrastructure.

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Ford wants batteries made in America.

Ford

As automakers enter a new kind of rivalry focused on putting more drivers into electric cars, US automakers want the country to rely more on its at-home supply chains. The recent semiconductor shortage that brought production lines to a halt around the world underscores a problem the industry may face when it comes to rare earth materials required for battery pack production.

On that note, the Biden administration this Wednesday issued an executive order to review the US' supply chain as it relates to the crucial raw materials required to build batteries that eventually make their way to EVs. "The US could better leverage our sizable lithium reserves and manufacturing know-how to expand domestic battery production," the White House said. While President Biden's prepared remarks focused on the semiconductor issue plaguing so many companies currently, the order's scope extends to "advanced batteries, like the ones used in electric vehicles." And on each topic, the president added, "we need to stop playing catch-up after the supply-chain crisis hit. We need to prevent the supply-chain crisis from hitting in the first place."

Today, the materials largely come from foreign countries, and China has a vast resource of refining capability for said materials, such as cobalt. To help make the US more competitive not only at home, but to perhaps extend supply-chain alliances to allies, the order includes a 100-day review that will look for near-term solutions to alleviate the crunch as well as a year-long review. The latter will go deeper into US agencies and result in future proposals from the administration or new research and development activities.

Ahead of the president's remarks, Ford CEO Jim Farley spoke at a financial conference calling on the US government to support battery production in the US and help build out charging infrastructure for EVs, Reuters first reported.

"We need to bring large-scale battery production to the US," he said. "We can't go through what we're doing now with chips."

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