The coming transition to electric mobility will put 75,000 engine and gearbox manufacturing jobs at risk, according to a study commissioned by German automakers and trade unions (as reported by Reuters).
The auto industry accounts for 840,000 jobs in Germany, of which 210,000 have to do with powertrain production, according to the Fraunhofer Institute of Industrial Engineering, which conducted the study.
The shift to EVs will create some new jobs producing vehicle electronics and batteries, but it is expected to mean less work for assembly workers.
Volkswagen’s top labor representative Bernd Osterloh said that EV powertrains have only a sixth of the components that ICE models do, and thus take 30 percent less time to assemble. Osterloh added that a battery factory requires a fifth of the workforce typically found in an engine plant.
“By 2030 every second job in passenger car powertrain will be impacted directly or indirectly by electromobility,” warns German trade union IG Metall.
Assuming that, by 2030, 25 percent of cars are electric, and 15 percent hybrids, up to 75,000 jobs will be at risk, says IG Metall. “Politicians and industry need to develop strategies now to manage this transformation,” said IG Metall’s chief, Joerg Hofmann.
Companies need to embark on major job retraining schemes, and politicians need to come up with a comprehensive industrial and employment policy, Hofmann said.
American observers may be surprised at the constructive, reality-based tone of the union’s statement, which reflects the comparatively cooperative relationship between unions and employers in Germany. IG Metall is not calling for the government to subsidize older technologies, or to roll back regulations designed to encourage the new ones.