Building e-car requires same labour as combustion engine car – BCG study

Automotive Industry

Source: Clean Energy Wire, 2020-09-28

A study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) says that there is little difference in the amount of personnel and work involved in building an electric car and a vehicle with a combustion engine, reports business daily Handelsblatt. Looking only at the motor it is correct that less workers are necessary, but this was not true for the whole car, the study’s author, Daniel Küpper, told the newspaper. E-mobility requires new production steps such as battery cell and battery module production and battery packaging, as well as power electronics and thermal management of the battery. Vehicle assembly or laying the wires is also more labour-intensive for electric cars than for vehicles with combustion engines, according to the study. The fact that battery cell production at the moment largely takes place abroad is a problem for jobs in Germany, said Küpper. He added that new factories to produce e-mobility components were often be built in eastern European countries to save on costs.

Tarnished by the scandal over the manipulation of emission tests by VW, Europe’s largest car producer, and facing new and powerful competitors in Google, Tesla, Apple and Uber, the future of Germany’s proud carmakers is less certain than ever in an age of decarbonisation, self-driving vehicles and car sharing. A projected gradual job loss in Germany’s car industry due to the transition to e-mobility is almost always justified by the same argument: Because electric motors are less complex than combustion engines, electric mobility does not require as many jobs.

Meanwhile, California's decision to ban conventional cars by 2035 has sparked a debate on the end of the combustion engine in Germany. Potential conservative chancellor candidate Markus Söder, the current state premier of Bavaria, where BMW and Audi are based, came out in favour of defining an end date, while Stephan Weil, Social Democratic state premier of Lower Saxony – home to Volkswagen – rejected setting a date.


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