Where is Michigan (and America) at with electric vehicles and battery technology? Gabrielle Coppola, a journalist at Bloomberg, joins me for a conversation on the Daily Detroit podcast.

Coppola wrote a very interesting piece, “America’s long, tortured journey to build EV batteries,” and it caught my eye because A123 systems — a Michigan company — was bought out of bankruptcy by Chinese investors and their cutting edge tech now is used over there. Over here? Americans are left having to license technology we created.

This conversation is about more than that, though. It’s about the immense change happening to the automotive industry, and what the challenges and opportunities really are for American automakers to compete in the EV and battery space.

Follow Gabrielle Coppola on social media: 

X: https://twitter.com/gablova?lang=en

Threads: https://www.threads.net/@gablova

Episode rundown:

02:10 – Where are we at with EVs right now in the United States? 

05:20 – Is Electric the future technology? What about alternatives?

07:20 – Automakers need to produce a lot of one car to make money

08:21 – Many people in auto industry are very worried about the future and how the changes coming will impact their lives

09:50 – It will take 30% fewer labor hours to make an electric car 

11:18 – Carmakers are learning about batteries, and want to bring more in house 

13:25 – Challenges for the future of suppliers and the jobs tied to them 

14:40 – Michigan’s lead with battery tech from A123 Systems that China bought out of bankruptcy and now uses as they speed ahead with EV adoption

25:22 – Why Michigan has to offer so many subsidies to battery plants, it’s multiple levels. 

26:42 – China does not make for a level playing field 

27:41 – Competition with China is not a fair fight, and their government puts in seemingly endless dollars (we really don’t know, there’s no transparency)

28:26 – Thinking about quarters vs. generations 

30:16 – Whatever America and American consumers decide to do, the rest of the world is not waiting on electric vehicles 

30:58 – EVs are wrapped in political identity in America, despite any facts on the ground

34:37 – Michigan advantages for the road ahead 

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