It takes people to make cars: to lift and install parts, check quality, test-drive them after assembly, and so forth. Automation has eliminated many of the jobs performed by humans a century ago and now the electric cars may pose a new threat: they will require even fewer workers to build.
“EV’s maintenance cost to be 1% of ICE vehicles; can cause job loss at workshops”, Abhay Firodia, President of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM)
A simple calculation: a battery-electric car has fewer than 200 moving parts, while a vehicle with a modern, turbocharged, multi-valve engine and nine-speed transmission (and perhaps all-wheel drive) has 10 to 30 times that number.
EVs are much easier and cheaper to build than vehicles with internal combustion engines. 40 percent of a conventional car’s manufacturing cost is made up of its engine, transmission, axles and driveshafts, engine cooling and air-conditioning systems, fuel tank and plumbing, and exhaust and emission after treatment systems.
In EVs, instead of engines, the computers, sensors, regulators and controllers make it all work.
Battery-electric cars dispense with all those parts, and the replacement components are far less complex. Worse yet, they may not be assembled by automakers at all. Battery cells and packs, which contain hundreds of lithium-ion cells (each of which has its own components) plus connectors, sensors, wiring, and the rest, aren’t necessarily made in-house.
And this is just the beginning. The shift from producing vehicles with internal combustion engines to EVs will take place over the years. So it won’t be sudden. But it’s going to happen faster than the shift to automation, which began in the early 1900s and happened in small increments, starting at some plants, followed by others. As the decades passed, automation became ever more sophisticated and replaced more and more jobs – a process that continues to this day.
Lets wait and watch the negotiations among auto manufacturers, automotive associations, their employees, their suppliers, and national politicians over where those jobs end up, and why?.