A new study reveals the big hit employment in Germany’s car sector could take with the increasing transition to the more environment-friendly electric vehicles. So will the same happen here in Australia?
Commissioned by the IG Metall union along with BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler and several car parts makers, and carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute, the study warns of the loss of a sum total of about 75,000 jobs by 2030, with smaller auto parts suppliers taking a bad hit.
The auto sector, which is Germany's biggest industry, employs more than 800,000 people.
A primary reason for the loss of jobs is that electric engines are easier to build and require far less parts than petrol- or diesel-fuelled cars.
For instance, it takes some 4,000 workers to assemble a million petrol/diesel engines per year; but just 1,840 people are needed to build the same number of electric motors.
While the transition to electric vehicles will eliminate 100,000 of the 210,000 jobs in drivetrain manufacturing by 2030, around 25,000 new roles will be created to work on specific requirements of electric cars such as batteries.
The study assumes that by 2030, 25 percent of all cars on Germany's roads will be fully electric, with another 15 percent being hybrids. In comparison, these cars account for less than two percent of the market today.
IG Metall chief Joerg Hofmann called upon the government and company management to take urgent action to prepare the industry for future job loss through methods such as retraining. However, he believes not everyone would survive the electric drive.
However only time will tell what effect the increasing incidence of electric vehicles will have in Australia considering our auto manufacturing sector now consists mainly of smaller car parts makers and suppliers.