The EV’s big offer

Publié 24 July 2018

The EV is the spearhead of a much wider transformation – the move towards e-mobility. This is a multidisciplinary field that brings together mobility, energy, services and IT.

E-mobility has the potential to create not only new jobs but entirely new sectors, business models and services. From drivetrain technology and battery information systems to charging infrastructures, there will be a host of job opportunities both in-car and out-of-car.

Four opportunities from in-car jobs 

The EV offers a wide array of opportunities across four key areas:

1. Transitional technologies and EV production 

While questions are being asked by concerned auto sector unions, there’s good news in the short term for traditional production line workers. By 2030, the number of auto jobs is predicted to increase because of ‘stepping stone’ technologies including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs):

  • Hybrids require 50% more human-hours to create when compared to cars using an ICE only;
  • 25,000 new jobs will be created by 2030 because of hybridisation, representing a growth rate of 22%.

The number of EV-only vehicles will inevitably supersede PHEVs past 2030 though, meaning automakers will be required to retrain existing workers for EV-only production lines. Alternatively, they can redeploy them elsewhere within the organisation, preferably in local EV component manufacture to secure the long-term future of workforces. For instance, Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler AG is already drawing up plans to make EV components in-house instead of sourcing them from third parties.

2. Power sources

Manufacturers of the power sources required to run EV vehicles, whether lithium (or other) batteries or hydrogen fuel cell-based, are set for rapid growth. And the race is now on for competing territories keen to capitalise on this lucrative potential.

Europe in particular lags behind Asia and North America in battery production capacity with only 3% of the sector. To secure and create jobs, these territories must move fast to gain a foothold, a fact that’s already been realised by several key players:

  • Volkswagen will spend $60bn on battery production and believes the auto sector will need to build 40 vast battery factories by 2025, a potentially huge source of employment;
  • Daimler is investing in its own battery production capacity rather than relying solely on existing Asia-based suppliers.
    For those agile enough, the rewards will be substantial. In Coventry, in the UK, for example, 10,000 new jobs are being created in a new dedicated national battery centre.

Changing gears - engine picture

3. Autonomous vehicles

The rapid evolution of EVs goes hand in hand with the growth of autonomous driving which requires a range of innovative technologies. Hardware developers and software engineers are already in high demand in the auto sector, with autonomous vehicle engineers particularly sought after.

With more than 50 major companies working on autonomous vehicles/full autonomous-vehicle systems at this time (plus a host of smaller firms), there’s already significant demand for skilled IT workers across the board, especially those qualified in artificial learning, deep learning and cybersecurity.

It’s not just the physical car [that needs talent]… areas such as navigation, LiDAR, cameras, etc. are all growing so the need for talent, both in hardware and software, is huge.

SEBASTIAN THRUNresearch professor at Stanford University and president of Udacity, which offers ‘nanodegrees’ in autonomous vehicle engineeringTweet this

4. Data

Consultancy firm IHS Automotive expects 21 million autonomous vehicle sales globally by 2035. In turn, the auto sector will require access to – and analysis of – the vast amounts of data needed for such vehicles. The consultant McKinsey predicts the car data industry could be worth as much as $750b by 2030 with more specialists required including data architects, data scientists, and support for operational analytics.

Such trends also explain why ‘computer systems software engineer’ has been the most-advertised job opening in the auto sector since 2014 according to global job site aggregator Indeed.com.

This shift is already seeing major auto players racing to either buy technology companies or to set up their own operations, creating new jobs in the process. For instance, Ford is investing $200m on a new data centre in Michigan. These new data disciplines will in turn fuel further spin-off jobs including education, training, testing and consultancy.

Servicing drivers? The potential is limitless.

As vehicles become autonomous, new opportunities will open up including the need for drivers to be occupied during their journeys. This represents a rich seam of employment potential including:

  • Content providers to deliver in-car entertainment
  • Predictive content analytics to create customised content marketing
  • Social media providers and app creators to design new services.

“Autonomous driving could create a large pool of value, potentially generating global digital-media revenues of €5 billion per year for every additional minute people spend on the mobile Internet while in a car,” predicts McKinsey.

More out-of-car jobs too

EVs are driving a demand for comprehensive charging infrastructures. E-mobility is creating opportunities for new schemes and services. As they converge, both represent significant promise for job creation:

1. Implementing infrastructure

The ability for users to charge their EVs conveniently is of critical importance to the technology’s long term success – and is currently the main barrier to EV adoption. According to IHS Automotive, addressing this need will require a major increase in the number of public EV charging stations available globally to nearly 13m by 2020. Such a proliferation of charging points will require effective planning and rolling out, in turn creating considerable job opportunities.

From individual roles including electricians, electrical power-line installers and repairers to wider strategic concerns involving urban planning, utilities management, property development and commercial/retail interests, the rollout of such a global infrastructure will trigger an increase in demand for unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled labour.

2. Creating services

Away from the specific demands of EVs, e-mobility is creating all-new services and business models. It’s forcing automakers to adapt their business strategies as concerns grow about e-mobility potentially harming their long-term revenues unless they diversify.

For instance, the car-as-a-service model is gaining traction with ride-hailing – witness the success of Uber and Lyft - car-sharing, carpooling and peer-to-peer car rentals rising to the fore. While each suggests a shift away from private ownership and therefore car sales, it also has the potential to create new opportunities for automakers including fleet sales to mobility providers and new financing models.

In turn, this will create multiple opportunities for employment whether in servicing, maintenance and recycling/refurbishing or marketing and customer services.

Continue reading: Part Three

E-mobility represents a change that will move far beyond the auto sector, potentially transforming lives and communities all around the world.

Read Part Three