Electric Road Trip

The future of U.S. auto suppliers, EV manufacturing

This week, the Electric Road Trip wrapped up its tour through the South and found more going on than we thought.

One reader told us calling the South an automotive center "sounds odd to my old ears." Yet it is, and one that is shaping up as a vibrant hub for electric vehicles. We visited the country's biggest electric bus factory and the site of a huge new battery plant — one built by a Korean company to supply a German automaker. The world's eyes are on the South as an electric auto producer.

Next, we push north toward Detroit and the traditional homeland of the auto industry. Our big story this week reveals how electrification is giving some reason to worry.

Things are getting newsy on the Electric Road Trip, so be sure to check the blog and join the conversation on Facebook. And alert your friends that they can get the newsletter, too.

— David Ferris

"The outlook for the forging industry is devastating," says an expert, noting just one segment of the auto supply chain that stands to suffer as electric vehicles take off. EVs are both simpler and more modular than internal-combustion cars. That spells trouble for hundreds of smaller shops that aren't ready for the jump.

Read the complete story in Energywire.

TOP STOPS

Video blog — From the cockpit of our Kia, reporters Kristi E. Swartz and Maxine Joselow take what they learned from their EV jaunt around the South and make it go down as easy as a mint julep.

COMMERCE, Ga. — Today it's a patch of dirt and some steel beams. But by 2022, South Korea's SK Innovation expects to finish a giant battery factory to supply foreign automakers that build in the South.

ATLANTA — With the help of an expert and Home Depot, our reporters built a home charger for $30.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are working to make the gas station an artifact. How? By developing wireless chargers embedded in roadways.

ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS

German prosecutors filed the first charges against Volkswagen AG's top leaders for their role in the diesel cheating scandal. New York Times

Electric truckmaker Rivian got an order for 100,000 delivery vans from Amazon.com Inc., an astonishing vote of confidence in a company that has no vehicles on the road. Wired

Nio, one of China's leading electric carmakers, reported a loss of $479 million for the last quarter as sales slumped. The Verge

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. made the largest purchases ever by a carmaker of renewable energy: 320 megawatts of wind and solar electricity for its U.S. operations. E&E News

NEXT TURN

In the coming days, we head through Indianapolis; Columbus, Ohio; and finally Detroit, where the General Motors Co. strike is in its second week. What's the connection between electric vehicles and labor troubles? We're on the road to find out. Watch for updates on the blog and Facebook.

Electric Road Trip

E&E News reporters take a 6,000-mile road trip in an electric vehicle to explore how the switch from gas to electric transportation will change the economy, environment and daily life of America.
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