Tesla’s electric cars are sometimes referred to as smartphones on wheels, which is justified not only because of the many infotainment functions and operation via the large touchscreen, but also because of the elegant integration into a uniform software system. But conventional vehicles have long been highly computerized, because dozens of digital control units are used for functions from fuel injection to door locking. And that is exactly what is currently causing serious problems for major automakers worldwide – while nothing has been read about it with regard to Tesla.
Chips for game consoles instead of cars
The first reports on the topic were already available at the end of 2020. Starting with Volkswagen, more and more car manufacturers announced that they had to adjust their production planning due to a lack of chips. The VW group for several of its brands and later also Daimler announced short-time work in some plants. According to a report by Car and Driver, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, Toyota and Subaru are now also affected by the problem, as well as Nissan and Honda in Japan. A BMW spokesman told the New York Times last week that production was still going as planned, but the situation was being monitored closely.
The acute coronavirus crisis in the economy, which led to component shortages in the auto industry in spring 2020, is now over. But it is having an effect: According to the reports, the big manufacturers around the world did not expect that demand would recover so quickly after the early slump. So they reduced their chip order quantities. And in the short term, they cannot get enough supplies because their manufacturers have switched parts of their production to chips for the electronics industry – because the pandemic actually fueled demand for computers and game consoles.
Tesla unimpressed by corona crisis?
Tesla is also likely to be affected by the problem, because the electric car pioneer does a lot of things himself that others buy from outside, but not everything – and the FSD chip for autonomous driving was developed in-house, but is produced by Samsung . Even so, there is nothing to read in the increasing number of reports of Tesla chip shortages. On the one hand, this could be related to the fact that Tesla usually ignores press inquiries. However, the fact that the company purchases significantly fewer silicon goods from outside than others should also play a role.
In addition, CEO Elon Musk is known to be always ready to take higher risks. In this respect, it would be plausible that Tesla, unlike the rest of the global auto industry, was not impressed by the early Corona slump and did not reduce its orders for tax chips, insofar as they are needed at all.