Ford Ion Park: Vertical Integration for Batteries

Ford Ion Park: Vertical Integration for Batteries

Ford is launching a new battery development center called Ford Ion Park in Southeast Michigan.  The center’s purpose is to conduct research on building battery cells for electric cars that are long lasting, quick to charge, and sustainable for the environment.

By preparing to make the batteries in-house, Ford will be less dependent on overseas suppliers and stay competitive with other car makers such as Tesla, Volkswagen, and General Motors.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on The Verge article, Ford takes its first step toward producing its own electric car batteries, by Andrew J. Hawkins, April 27, 2021; the Battery Technology article, Ford Launches $185 Million Ion Park Battery R&D Center of Excellence, by Dan Carney, May 11, 2021; the Ford press release, Ford Commits to Manufacturing Batteries, to Form New Joint Venture with SK Innovation to Scale NA Battery Deliveries, May 20, 2021; and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: Jenson/Shutterstock

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the factors that Ford considered in deciding to develop Continue reading

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Semiconductor Shortage Takes a Bite out of Apple

Semiconductor Shortage Takes a Bite out of Apple

May 18, 2021

 

 

A shortage of semiconductors is affecting the production of cars and electronics.

This is another example of a bottleneck in a strained supply chain. Several factors converged to create the current situation, and it appears that consumers will have to endure the consequences of disrupted supply chains for some time. A solution to the problem is to strengthen the domestic supply chains, but it will take years to implement.

 


Video Spotlight: The Reasons for the Semiconductor Shortage


This post is based on the npr.org article, Get Ready for a Shortage of iPads and MacBooks, by C. Domonoske, April 29, 2021, and the YouTube video, Worsening Semiconductor Shortage Spreads Beyond Vehicle Manufacturers to Hit Apple, Samsung, by Arirang News Center, April 30, 2021. Image source: Jag_cz/Shutterstock.

Discussion Questions:

1. According to the information provided in the video and the article, what are the conditions that created a shortage of semiconductors?

Guidance: The underlying problem is the reliance on a handful of suppliers throughout the world. Even though US companies have 47% of the global chip market, they manufacture only 12% of the chips. Today, Taiwan and South Korea have the most advanced fabrication Continue reading

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Rare Earth Elements and the Triple Bottom Line

Rare Earth Elements and the Triple Bottom Line

July 10, 2020

COVID-19’s impact on supply chains has brought attention to the United States’ reliance on China and other countries for manufacturing critical items using Rare Earth Elements (REE).

REE materials are needed to make hybrid car batteries, computer touch screens, and special magnets used in the defense of the nation. The issue arose from environmental regulations that begin in the 1960s to the 1980s.  As costs rose to make products using REE in the United States, manufacturing shifted to other countries.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the Supply Chain Brain article, It’s Time to Reconsider the Math on Rare Earth Elements, by Shubho Chatterjee and Joe Carson, May 19, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Image source: Peter Sobolev/Shutterstock

Discussion Questions:

1.  What are options that the United States could consider to reshore REE manufacturing capability?

Guidance: REE manufacturing left the United States in part due to Triple Bottom Line considerations several decades ago.  This is a good general discussion question.  Students may argue Continue reading

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