Wiring Harness Shortages, What’s The Deal?

What’s holding back electric vehicle production? A first it was chip shortages. but lately its continued to be… wiring harness shortages.

What? What the heck is a wiring harness?

It turns out wiring harnesses are the hardware that holds wiring together in a car (or bus or truck) – plus the wiring itself – and are totally custom to every different car design. It’s a $45B/year global market, would you believe.

They’re custom-made, often by hand with little automation, in low-cost factories all around the world. So when the COVID and Ukraine supply chain crunches hit, harness production got way backlogged and never recovered.

Making matters worse, car wiring’s gotten more complicated as designers added more sensors and electronic components over the years. But with little standardization, there’s been no economic incentive to rationalize and automate production to increase capacity.

That’s all changing due to the shortages and the rise of EVs, which are designed from the ground up (hopefully) and have more and higher-spec wiring requirements, including less space and weight.

Manufacturers are developing more integrated, modular and standardized harnesses, and better on-demand manufacturing automation. In short (sorry – bad word choice) wiring harness are becoming a higher value component that’s worth investing in.

The end.

Your grandfather’s wiring harness… what’s the red wire again?

A traditional wiring harness.

A newfangled ‘wiring harness circuit.’

A ‘wire harness circuit’ made by CelLink Technologies for simplification and weight savings.