At LINTEC Automotive, we always believe that it's important to stay up-to-date on all the latest automotive industry news — not just those items that directly impact our operations. Not only do they help illustrate how far we've come, but they also make it possible to anticipate where we might collectively be headed as well.
Toyota is Ramping Up Production Once Again
When the world's biggest auto manufacturer suddenly stops production, people across the industry tend to take notice. That's precisely what happened recently when Toyota was forced to stop operations at 25 production lines across 12 plants in its native Japan. An investigation is still ongoing about exactly what happened, but the company has so far been quick to point out that it was not a cyber attack.
Production for Toyota in Japan started on Wednesday, August 30. Collectively, the plants make up about 1/3rd of Toyota's global production capability, so getting them back up and running was clearly going to be a priority from the start.
Note that this is also not the only reason that Toyota has been in the news recently — although other mentions are much more positive in nature. Toyota has also been making significant improvements in terms of the solid-state batteries that power electric vehicles. The next generation battery is currently predicted to debut sometime between 2026 and 2027.
It could allow an electric vehicle to go more than 900 miles on a single charge — especially impressive when you also consider that it's supposed to be just a fifth of the cost of current generation models. The advanced solid-state battery is expected to be seen in both high performance and mass market vehicles.
Scheduled Replacement Cycles? Not So Fast
Another one of the auto industry trends worth paying attention to has to do with the idea of scheduled replacement cycles, particularly as they relate to commercial fleets of vehicles. Because fleet vehicles tend to average approximately 20,000 miles per year, they should always be replaced on a regular cycle to keep things functioning at peak efficiency. In a perfect world, they would be…but with costs skyrocketing and supply chain issues still impacting demand, things are hardly perfect.
Sourcing constraints are expected to persist around the world until well into the middle of 2024. As a result, many fleets are forced to take their current assets well past their scheduled replacement cycles, to the point where eventually they'll need to be replaced, not repaired. Issues are common in terms of items that experience a lot of wear like the tires and brakes, and that's an unfortunate trend that shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.
Could an EV Technician Shortage Be Right Around the Corner?
Finally, we have another trend that pertains to electric vehicles in particular. Due in part to their massive increase in popularity over the last few years, experts are now worried that there simply aren't enough repair technicians available to properly maintain them.
According to one recent study there are over 655,000 people in the United States who are employed as automotive service technicians. Of that number, approximately 229,000 of them are certified in some capacity. Of that number, only about 1.4% are actually certified to work on electric vehicles in particular. This is concerning, as not only are there more EVs on the road than ever, but thanks to things like tax incentives from the federal government there are expected to be millions more over the next few years alone.
Because of this, it's clear that action should be taken immediately. On the one hand, it's excellent news that more and more people are embracing the benefits of electric vehicles with open arms. On the other hand, there will need to be a massive shift towards prioritizing this type of certification so that there will be people available to fix these vehicles if something should go wrong with them. You would never want to take your internal combustion engine vehicle to any old mechanic to get it fixed — you would want to find someone certified, trained, and reputable. If people perceive that EVs are too difficult to service, it could put them off the idea of buying one in the first place, and that is a position we want to avoid as an industry at all costs.
If you'd like to learn about other essential auto trends like those outlined above, or if you'd just like to discuss your own needs with someone in a bit more detail, please don't delay — contact us today and stay up to date with LINTEC Automotive.