Tesla supply chain: Biden team plans $52B funding to address chip shortage among US carmakers

(Credit: Chris Yarzab [CC BY 2.0])

The Biden administration is already assembling a team to invest around $52 billion worth of funding for semiconductor research and manufacturing, awaiting congressional approval. 

The CHIPS Act would establish investments and incentives to support semiconductor manufacturing, research & development, and supply chain security in the United States. Companies around the globe have been affected by the global chip shortage, including US automakers like Ford, General Motors, and Tesla. 

Elon Musk admitted Tesla was affected by the chip shortage in the last earnings call. The Tesla Model S Plaid’s initial production was delayed due to chip supply shortages. 

“We need to incentivize the manufacturing of chips in America and so we are very focused on putting the pieces in place so that can happen,” said US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. She leads President Joe Biden’s efforts to address the chip shortage affecting American automakers. 

In June, the Senate passed its version of the bill. The House is still debating the CHIPS Act’s scope, but Raimondo believes that Speaker Nancy Pelosi would want to put her chamber’s stamp on the bill.

Automakers have been hit hard by the chip shortage. Raimondo reported that Ford’s CEO Jim Farley and General Motors CEO Mary Barra have shared that the chip supply situation is improving. 

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) hopes to ramp microcontroller production close to 60% this year, which could boost chip supplies as the automakers enter their third quarter. TSMC is a major chip manufacturer in the industry, along with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

With the CHIPS Act, the Biden administration hopes to address the challenges caused by the global chip shortage and prevent similar situations from affecting US companies in the future. Chips will play a more significant role in the auto industry moving forward. 

Automakers like Tesla have changed the technology people expect in their vehicles. Tesla appears to be one step ahead compared to OEMs regarding chips, given that the EV producer designed its own chip to accommodate the needs of its autonomous software.

Raimondo and Biden’s team seem determined to actively address the chip shortage. Besides exerting efforts to push the CHIPS Act in Congress, Raimondo and Biden’s team have urged governments in Malaysia and Vietnam to deem semiconductor manufacturing as critical businesses to maintain production despite the pandemic.

“We’re doing a lot on the chip shortage,” said Raimondo during a press briefing. “I am engaging almost daily with industry. We are working as hard as we can to get the House to pass the CHIPS Act or their version of USICA.” 

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Tesla supply chain: Biden team plans $52B funding to address chip shortage among US carmakers
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