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Old 29th November 2019, 15:50   #1
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Default Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?

According to media reports, Audi is cutting jobs to fund research in electric cars and Mercedes-Benz is also cutting jobs as lowering carbon dioxide emissions and building hybrid & electric cars are too expensive.

Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?-jag-assembly.jpg

By 2025, Audi is expected to cut 9,500 jobs in Germany. The carmaker also said that focusing on electric cars could create up to 2,000 jobs. Mercedes is expected to cut more than 1,000 jobs in management and administrative roles.

Jobs in production and service are also expected to be lost as electric cars have just 1 moving part. Putting together motors and batteries is not as complicated as building internal combustion engines. Lesser moving parts mean they are easier to build and require less maintenance. It takes less to keep electric cars on the road as compared to conventional cars.

However, today's mechanical jobs could be replaced by jobs that require a different skill set, like battery engineering or chemical engineering. It is said that battery engineering is in short supply. The report suggests that Germany has reported a 40 billion-euro package to support those who lose out on its plan to phase out coal. It includes adding public service jobs.

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Old 29th November 2019, 16:29   #2
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Default Re: Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?

As the article suggests, jobs will be created elsewhere in the automobile sector. Also remember that EVs will replace traditional automobiles (that are already plying on the road) at a glacial pace. So there will be lots of time for the job market to adjust to new supply and demand dynamics.

Regarding Audi/Mercedes cutting jobs in Europe, the Bloomberg infographic nails the truth -

Name:  jobs.jpg
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In the last couple of decades, there has been a decline in number of people employed in the automobile sector in Europe (2000 to 2016). So no point in blaming EVs for "job losses".

Last edited by SmartCat : 29th November 2019 at 20:45.
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Old 29th November 2019, 18:20   #3
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Default Re: Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?

This is something we, especially the youth should be thinking about. Being a mechanical engg. Graduate, I have thought about this multiple times. Mechanical engineering (as we currently see it) is dying.

The future of mechanical jobs (especially in production tech. And automobiles mainly lie in battery tech (esp. Thermal management) , production optimisation, design and manufacturing of fully automated production lines and the robots that do it.
Until another Elon musk comes up with a better solution (practical fuel cells?)

The problem is the number of people required to do a particular mechanical engineering job is being reduced drastically due to Advanced design softwares ,

Another problem is that, mechanical is a very wide field. What I am seeing nowadays is that instead of companies hiring fresh mechanical graduates (without specialization)
And training them, they just train existing employees (even non mech-engineers) in that specific area and get the job done. They don't need someone with knowledge in the vast field of Mechanical Engg. They just need someone with the particular skill and limited but effective knowledge (and/or billion years of experience) to get a specific job done. Because a lot of the work can be done using easy to use softwares.

In my opinion it's time to split mechanical engineering in to focused streams. Graduates nowadays (including me) are not equipped to meet the needs of the industry. Because what they do in engineering colleges in india( IITs ) is just expose them to too many concepts without going in depth in any of them. If someone asks a fresh mechanical graduate (in india) to design even a single part most likely they'll not be able to ; unless he's a tinkerer who has found his own way , knows exactly what he wants to become and learnt the real stuff himself.

We are at a point of technological advancement where knowing basic mechanical engineering is not enough. Because all that has been utilized to the fullest for the past 100 years and has been automated/computerised. Everyone needs you to be good at something specific. Otherwise your are just a random fish among the thousands. But our education system in incapable of preparing students for the industry. A mech. engg. Graduate is not an "proficient" at anything particular. And nobody is willing to give us a chance or train us in a particular field like it used to be.


It's actually a sad state. Yes, we will lose the "purity" of core mechanical engineering. It is just like the case of craftsmen and their hand built products.

But we have to change with the times.

Very few youngsters know exactly what sub-sub-field of mechanical engineering they want to specialize in. Most people will get to know what real mechanical engg. after their first job or whatever stream they get admit for M.tech. And then they take off from there.
Splitting up mechanical engineering Into narrower sub-streams as well as introduction of subjects focusing next gen technology and their design/developmentwill help students as well as employers focus their attention and efforts much better.

***sorry for the rant***
**MODS, please remove the post if you feel it went off-topic ***
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Old 29th November 2019, 20:04   #4
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Default Re: Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?

I am not entirely sure this is a bad thing. Yes, people will be unemployed from their current jobs, but with the changes come new opportunities. The world evolves and we either grow with it or die. In the 1980's, many bank and other government employees agitated against computers being installed in banks, claiming it would take away their jobs. It did to some extent, but banks have become better for it and customers are so much better off. You would never have online banking where transferring money could be done from home in the middle of the night with the touch of a button.

I really hope battery technology and charging infrastructure improves to the point where electric cars are a practical alternative. And if the side-effect of that is unemployment of a few workers in the Indian car industry, then so be it.
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Old 29th November 2019, 20:13   #5
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Default Re: Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartCat View Post
As the article suggests, jobs will be created elsewhere in the automobile sector. Also remember that EVs will replace traditional automobiles
After the initial sale boom, electric cars sales will settle down at a very small level in terms of revenue. Coupled with negligible service requirements, the total required workforce would be significantly small.
I've seen how large a typical engine assembly plant usually is, the number of people employed there are big in numbers.

On a positive note, electric power trains are not even close when it comes to replacing typical diesel Power trains ( trucks, construction equipments, generators etc.)

Offtopic: Since the expected life of electric power trains are going to be significantly higher compared to IC engines, the manufacturers would be forced to build cars with high standard of build quality which can last at least twice the mileage compared to IC engine cars. Tin cans won't last as long as motors and their controllers.

Last edited by gauravanekar : 29th November 2019 at 20:15.
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Old 29th November 2019, 20:17   #6
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Default Re: Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?

IMHO, it is fairly obvious to me as to how inefficient personal cars are. Cars we own are always parked at home or work hogging space. They are in use for couple hours a day, and are a dead investment for the rest of time. Humans are too slow and too limited in the ability to drive.

In the near future, personal cars will be thing of past. Autonomous pods for long distance travel, and personal pods for traveling in dense areas is the future. Many cities are already banning personal cars in several areas with lots of people. Car companies are reading this writing on the wall.
https://electrek.co/2019/11/29/big-c...tric-scooters/

Humans have an innate need to be productive, we will figure out to work on other things. But, personal automobiles going away for good will be a big disruption.
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Old 29th November 2019, 20:36   #7
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Default Re: Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?

This has to happen. Electric vehicles, specifically electric motors are far simpler and easier to make than an IC engine. Entire areas of expertise like crankshafts, valves, timings, exhausts, engine mapping and tuning etc will become obsolete. In meanwhile, the importance of electronic systems will increase, both in terms of complexity as well as reliability. Jobs will be lost in many fields, but new and specialised opportunities will be created.
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Old 30th November 2019, 06:21   #8
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Default Re: Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiragM View Post
... Audi is cutting jobs to fund research in electric cars ....
The key thing to note is, existing type of jobs related to IC cars will reduce, the EV landscape will open up a plethora of new opportunities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiragM View Post
.. Putting together motors and batteries is not as complicated as building internal combustion engines. Lesser moving parts mean they are easier to build and require less maintenance. It takes less to keep electric cars on the road as compared to conventional cars...
EVs are still in the nascent stage in terms of technology, for sure it will get hell a lot complicated than what it is today as the technology evolves.
Besides when we think of EVs, it is not just the vehicle alone, the entire ecosystem needs to support it such as charging infrastructure and battery disposal industry.
Think of all the billions of batteries that would get discarded after end of its life. With IC vehicles, everybody is polluting the environment, with hazardous batteries, no-one will be able to ignore the battery lifecycle management aspect. Some dedicated and highly specialized industry has to take care of recycling these hazardous material in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner. It will lead to whole new recycling industries coming up and plenty of associated jobs at all levels.

It's all a matter of adapting to the new requirements, if they can adapt, humans will always have new opportunities.

Last edited by for_cars1 : 30th November 2019 at 06:23.
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Old 30th November 2019, 10:24   #9
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Default Re: Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiragM View Post
Jobs in production and service are also expected to be lost as electric cars have just 1 moving part.
Correction Required.

It's actually electric motors which have only one moving part. A car, as a whole, has tires and suspension which all move about.


Like GutsyGibbon has said, cars cannot be for personalized use anymore. With the long life of electric cars and considering how people change cars when they get bored in 5 years etc, it will be an utter waste of resources if people change absolutely fine cars periodically(assuming batteries become cheaper and better in the long run). Let's not forget, cars are actually supposed to become cheaper if electric cars are to be mass produced at the current scale, although the automobile lobby/mafia may never let it happen.


I sense a big change in the transport industry as we know it. We are looking at big big changes. Personalized pods will force manufacturers to club up as passenger utilization will become more efficient thereby leading to fewer vehicles on road. Clubbing up means a lot of employees will be laid off. But I can sense a huge requirement to build autonomous technology, supporting that and ensuring security in such systems. That's where I believe the automobile industry is moving to although many say it's a huge hype.
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Old 30th November 2019, 11:59   #10
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Default Re: Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?

They should. The breakdown rates are far lower. Service intervals far higher. Also, massive retraining will be required.
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Old 1st December 2019, 18:32   #11
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Default Re: Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?

Most inefficiencies in the electro network are in conversion between DC and AC. The high AC voltage charging point has to become DC to charge the car battery.

Almost 20% power loss occurs here.

Example, in a so called efficient LED bulb about 40% of its cost and used space is for this ac to dc adaptor and converters.

LED lamps produce 6 times the illumination of an equivalent incandescent lamp.
World power consumption did not become 1/6 th.
Light pollution went up 6 times.

Electricians will be in high demand to maintain EV charging points.

Hopefully people won’t get mass electrocuted if a flooded area has many electric cars!

EV also means we don’t need an auto company at all. It will become like the heydays of the desktop computer revolution. Every road had a computer assembly shop.

I red somewhere that a pop singer will.i.am is going to make cars.

Even if every single vehicle goes electric it will not reduce the amount of pollution. 35% of all electricity produced is used in the construction and cement business.
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Old 1st December 2019, 19:40   #12
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Default Re: Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?

I just realized one thing. We have 15 years before taking the car for a fitness certification.
With electric cars thatís got to be reduced to the stated life of the battery 5-6 years.
There is plenty of money hanging from trees for your local babu at the RTO.
Insurance premiums have to come down drastically.
100% depreciation for glass and plastic means thereís nothing for them to pay you in case of an accident after a couple of years.
For sure your battery wonít be in the insured item category. That is sort of like fuel isnít it?
What fun.
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Old 2nd December 2019, 08:39   #13
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Default Re: Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?

In the long-term, I'd say yes. EVs are not only simpler to manufacture & have less parts, but IMHO, crucial components of their power-train (battery, motors, controllers) will become regular commodities. Say like computer RAM, SSD & CPU that are easily inter-changeable between different models. This is going to lead to job losses in production as well as engineering teams.

In the longer-term, dealerships should also be worried. The service revenue will be lesser as EVs are simpler, and over-the-air updates are becoming common in their world.
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Old 2nd December 2019, 09:29   #14
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Default Re: Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?

I'd say yes. However, for the next few years, with both electric and IC cars running in parallel, there may not be a big change.

Once Electric goes mainstream and IC becomes a collector edition, there will be a lot of jobs that will no longer be needed - direct (car manufacturing, servicing, etc) and indirect (OEM manufacturing, fuel pumps, independent service centers).

Add to it autonomous cars, and you have another set of jobs that are lost (drivers - cab and personal).

And if you move to a subscription model for cars where the manufacturer leases cars directly rather than involving a middle man dealership, and we have no dealerships!

I would want to read this thread every 5 years and do a reality check though.
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Old 2nd December 2019, 12:10   #15
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Default Re: Will electric cars lead to job losses for auto workers?

At one time, the car industry had eliminated most of electronic jobs in the US. Electrical engineers in general were not that in demand as Mechanical Engineers. Now wilt different powertrains and power electronics that is needed, there is a bit more demand for electronic engineers. And with autonomous driving coming into picture, we need more dedicated electronics to be designed.

A great example is the chip designed by Tesla ground up for just their autonomous driving. Which is the only reason why there is no other company who comes anywhere near as Tesla's autonomous driving. Just writing some software code with some general hardware is not going to cut it. You need a higher degree of integration between electronics, software and mechanical engineering needed that ever before. Mechanical engineers will be the most hit. And for many to stay they will have to have more than just a basic knowledge of electronics. Integration of mechanics parts to electronics will be key knowledge on which one can survive.
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