As American industry has become increasingly global over the last 10 to 15 years, more and more ‘American’ cars are being made with fewer ‘American’ parts and more foreign auto parts. As more electrical components are being used for hybrid and electric vehicles, it is challenging to know where the different parts making up your car are coming from.
For example, while batteries are being made in Japan, the electric motors running off the batteries are made in Korea. It is very difficult to know with any degree of certainty just how ‘American’ your American hybrid vehicle is.
Frank DuBois, a professor at American University’s Kogod School of Business has developed a way to break down what elements of many of today’s vehicles come from where. His work is published annually in a document called the Made In America Auto Index.
Each vehicle receives a score based on several different criteria including engine and transmission production (21%); body, interior, chassis and electrical (50%); research and development (6%); profit margin based upon the site of corporate headquarters (6%); labor (6%); and site of inventory and capital expenses (11%). Scores are then added ranking all of the automobiles on the market based upon their content sources from the United States.
The five most American-made electric vehicles for 2016 include:
The Cadillac ELR is a vehicle that I am sure few of us have ever heard of. It has the drivetrain of a Chevy Volt for the price of a Tesla. As a result, it was largely doomed from the get go.
Because of low demand from American consumers, production officially stopped in February of 2016. However, it was still included in the research by DuBois.
The final score of American sourced content for the Cadillac ELR was 54 with close to half of the overall vehicle being foreign-sourced. This includes components in the body, interior, and chassis of the vehicle. The powertrain also came from overseas.