During an Italian tech event that was streamed on Friday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk predicted that the ongoing semiconductor crisis would likely be over next year. Musk also noted that he believes the global chip shortage issue is a “short term” problem and not one that would be true for the long term.
The Tesla CEO noted that “there’s a lot of chip fabrication plants that are being built, and I think we will have good capacity by next year,” though he did not specify what facilities he was referencing. Noted chipmakers such as Intel and TSMC have unveiled plans to expand their presence in the United States to boost their supply, but the planned factories are not expected to come online anytime soon.
Glenn O’Donnell, a vice president research director at Forrester, an advisory firm, noted that he believes that the chip shortage could last well into 2022 and perhaps even up to 2023. “Because demand will remain high and supply will remain constrained, we expect this shortage to last through 2022 and into 2023,” O’Donnell noted.
Musk’s statements are difficult to discount, considering that Tesla is arguably the carmaker that is handling the ongoing chip supply issues best. During the Q2 2021 earnings call, Musk revealed that Tesla was able to respond to the global semiconductor shortage by rewriting its vehicles’ software and using alternative chips.
“We were able to substitute alternative chips and then write the firmware in a matter of weeks. It’s not just a matter of swapping out a chip. You also have to rewrite the software. So it was an incredibly intense effort of planning new chips, writing new firmware, integrating it to the vehicle and testing it in order to maintain production,” Musk wrote.
Efforts are also seemingly underway to ensure that Tesla’s chip supply is as robust as possible in the near future. Just recently, a report from South Korea noted that Tesla key supplier Samsung Electronics has reportedly selected Taylor, TX, as the site of its upcoming $17 billion chip plant that would likely enter operations by Q4 2024. Samsung’s Taylor plant happens to be just 40 minutes away from Gigafactory Texas, the site where the Tesla Cybertruck would be produced.
The global chip shortage has not been kind to the auto industry, with companies such as Volkswagen, Ford, and Daimler suspending production at several points and cutting their manufacturing targets due to the lack of semiconductors. Automakers use semiconductors for numerous functions, from basic features such as power steering to more advanced systems such as adaptive cruise control.
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