Is e-mobility costing jobs?
When will it take over the market? How does it protect the environment? Does it have to be state funded? And what about the range? — The subject of electromobility throws up a lot of questions, but one aspect seldom discussed is that of jobs. What effect the introduction of electromobility will have on jobs depends on numerous factors. But one thing is certain, namely that the effects will be far-reaching. And it’s not just manufacturers and their suppliers who will be affected. The German mechanical engineering industry, for example, generates 18 percent of its sales with drive technology. According to a study published by the Ifo Institute, there were around 31,000 jobs directly connected to combustion technology outside the automotive sector in 2015.
Fewer parts than a combustion engine
It’s clear that there are fewer parts in an electric motor. 1,400 parts in a combustion engine, compared with 210 parts in an electric motor, according to RWTH Aachen. A multiplicity of mechanical components such as the camshaft, crankshaft, pistons and connecting rod will disappear from the drivetrain. That will probably cost jobs.
The Ifo Institute has calculated that more than 600,000 of today’s jobs in German industry would be directly or indirectly affected by a ban on new registrations of cars and light commercial vehicles with internal combustion engines from 2030. Of course, they would not all be lost without being replaced. However, it’s not clear how much new work e-car production would generate.
The equation looks very different again for hybrid vehicles which combine combustion technology with electrical engineering. Assembling the drivetrain on hybrids takes nine working hours per vehicle, according to calculations made by management consultants AlixPartners. This is 50 percent higher than the figure for cars with combustion engines. According to AlixPartners, therefore, the assembly of hybrid vehicles could create 25,000 new jobs by 2030. Hybrid technology could be for jobs what it is already for range: a promising transition technology.