Tesla’s output fell in the second quarter of 2020 because of supply chain disruption and plant shutdowns.
The pandemic has highlighted the fragility of automotive supply chains, especially for EV makers which rely on battery materials across the world. The initial outbreak in China forced the company to shut its Shanghai factory temporarily. But Tesla has fared well compared with other automakers with large footprints in Europe, which was mostly locked down for much of the second quarter of 2020.
Tesla recently signed a deal with Glencore to secure long-term supply of Cobalt. Most of Glencore’s cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has not seen any large mine shutdowns yet. There is a risk that the virus could spread in the country, which has limited infrastructure to prevent it.
Several mines which produce battery metals have closed during the pandemic. The Ambatovy nickel and cobalt project in Madagascar is expected to be shut until the end of the year, and Sumitomo’s nickel and cobalt mines in the Philippines were shut in May but have since reopened. Lithium projects in Chile have continued operations, but the number of virus cases in South America is rising rapidly.