While most vehicles in operation and even those just coming out of the factory are using internal combustion engines, the emphasis on cleaner motoring as well as the impact of stricter rules about emissions mean a tidal wave is coming.
According to Elmar Degenhart, CEO at automotive supplier Continental, electricity is increasingly becoming a viable solution – and the growth will have a hugely negative impact on the traditional engine producers. “Due to the low added value, production jobs will be lost,” was quoted Degenhart by German newspaper Welt am Sonntag when discussing engine manufacturers. “There is enough time to design the process such that the blow is softened and major pain can be avoided.” This is because the shift towards producing more electric motors and battery packs will in turn create new jobs in the auto industry.
Degenhart is also a little careful, adding it’s still too soon to predict if the losses would be offset by the newly minted positions. Back in 2016, the Continental boss was also confident electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will come to dominate the auto industry. And he also made an insider’s prediction – storage costs should go down to just $109 per kilowatt hour for electrics to enter mainstream affordability. The impact of electrics is not only visible in manufacturing – for example electric motors and batteries need different maintenance so mechanics need a completely new set of skills.