The emerging geography of electric vehicle production in North America: Revolution or evolution?

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Brussels (2024)


Production and sales of plug-in electric vehicles are growing rapidly in the United States. What does this major transformation hold in store for the industry’s production footprint? This paper compares the emerging geography of battery electric vehicle (BEV) production with the existing distribution of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle production facilities in North America. For our analysis we are able to draw on detailed vehicle production and powertrain sourcing forecasts issued by S&P Global Mobility for all of North America, extending though the end of 2029. The detailed data allow us distinguish all major powertrain variants, specifically: ICE vehicles, HEVs, PHEVs, and BEVs.

Our analysis includes the expected location patterns of vehicle assembly, as well as related sourcing of powertrains: engine, as well as batteries (cells and packs). We find that despite the massive changes expected in the mix of vehicles produced, the emerging spatial pattern of BEV assembly and battery production is strikingly similar to the existing pattern for ICE vehicle assembly and engine production at the scale of North America as a whole. However, at the local scale, new battery plants are being constructed in different communities than those that are home to existing engine plants. Importantly we find that hybrid vehicles, HEVs and PHEVs, are expected to play an important role in the transition towards electrification. That is important for the medium-term future of engine production, as hybrids require both a battery and an internal combustion engine.

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