Backlog for Electric Vehicles Eases Up (Mostly)

Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD



Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD

­Electric vehicles aren’t quite as scarce as they used to be.

Back in August, we reported that most EVs were backordered anywhere from 3-6 months (or more), while arguably the most popular EV brand (Tesla) was delayed about a year.

Well, supply has apparently caught up to demand. Or at the very least, estimated delivery dates, for most brands and models, are a lot more manageable.

What’s interesting is that Tesla simultaneously faces parts delays, specifically batteries, while cutting down delivery times dramatically.

The company’s Gigafactory in Berlin is announcing significant lags in its 4680-battery cell production, which ironically, were supposed to enable faster charging, a longer battery lifetime, and lower prices. The 4680-battery cell is currently going into the budget-friendly Tesla Model Y, which not coincidentally, has amongst the longest deferred delivery date (Dec. 2022 – April 2023).

The 4680 is also a key addition to the forthcoming Cybertruck and Tesla Semi, and considering the battery cell delays, it’s no wonder that part of the 4680’s production is moving to Tesla’s Gigafactory Texas.

Taking into account all models, and as of September 21, Tesla had a backlog of about 317,000 units.

But in general, Tesla’s estimated delivery dates have markedly improved. The Model 3’s ETA is no later than December 2022, while the pricier Model S is listed from November 2022 – February 2023, and I already mentioned the relatively high Model Y backorder (though even that isn’t too far off).

The same can’t be said for Ford, which has been hitting customers with delays and price increases.

In September, they announced that 40,000-45,000 vehicles remain unfinished because of difficulties obtaining parts (and the associated costs) and they wouldn’t be available for the 3rd quarter. They’re hoping to make delivery by Q4, though the parts issue remains.

We famously experienced a huge chip delay during the pandemic, though for their part, Ford claims the shortage doesn’t include semiconductors.

But whatever it is – the automaker won’t specify which parts, exactly – it’ll be a huge blow to the bottom line…for the company and, in short order, for consumers via higher prices.

"Based on recent negotiations, inflation-related supplier costs during the third quarter will run about $1 billion higher than originally expected," the company noted.

And consumers will bear the brunt of it. Ford has announced a price increase of about $5,000 for the electric F-150 Lightning (model year 2023 versions), the second such increase in as many months. On August 9th, the company announced an increase of $6,000-$8,500, depending on the model and options.

Of course, Tesla hasn’t been adverse to raising prices, either. They’ve already hiked costs several times, and while it initially didn’t put a dent in demand, that may have helped ease estimated delivery dates.

They’ve also subtracted out-of-the-box features – home charging equipment, for example, is no longer standard, amongst other key items. That, too, could’ve played a big role in the reduced wait times, along with the generally higher availability of microchips.

So, barring notable exceptions, electric vehicles aren’t nearly as hard to acquire as they were just a few months ago.