For the automotive industry, the switch to electromobility is a done deal. But a lot of semiconductors are needed for the production of e-cars. And they are still scarce.

According to a study, the lack of semiconductors is likely to slow down the automotive industry until at least 2024.

According to a study by management consultancy Alix Partners published on Tuesday, electric cars need ten times as many chips as petrol or diesel cars, so that even increasing capacities are not sufficient to meet all of the demand. “Vehicle production will not reach the level before the pandemic began until 2024 at the earliest.”

For this year, Alix expects global sales to fall to 78.9 million cars and light vans – from 80.3 million in 2021. The operating profit of the car manufacturers (Ebitda margin) has risen to an average of 12 percent of sales, those of the suppliers to almost 11 percent. Both would have made up for the decline in the Corona crisis to some extent. Because of the increase in raw material costs, suppliers did not benefit to the same extent from the rise in car prices. They are also under strong financial pressure because of the pricing power of car manufacturers, said industry expert Marcus Kleinfeld.

Up to triple raw material prices

According to the study, raw material prices for combustion engines have doubled since 2020 and those for electric cars have almost tripled. The cost of batteries is likely to rise again after years of decline. Lithium iron phosphate batteries could soon be used more frequently in low and medium-priced e-cars. Although they are heavier and offer less range than conventional batteries, they are cheaper and also do not depend on rare earths from unstable regions.

At the moment, cars are scarce and comparatively expensive. But by 2024 at the latest, the car manufacturers should be able to grant discounts again, said Alix director Fabian Piontek: “The effects of high inflation on consumer behavior are already foreseeable.”

In 2035, Europe is expected to be a global leader with purely electric vehicles accounting for 83 percent of all vehicles sold. In Germany it could be 96 percent. Globally, Alix expects 50 percent. However, a charging infrastructure must be created that not only enables homeowners with their own charging station to keep their vehicles operational, warned industry expert Christian Siekmann. “Even city dwellers without their own parking space need reliable charging points.”