01 Jul 2021, 13:36
Edgar Meza Benjamin Wehrmann

Shift to e-cars could increase number of jobs in German car sector, eastern states big winners - analysis

Clean Energy Wire / Die Welt

The shift to electric mobility could turn out to become a boon for the German car industry that creates jobs rather than destroy them, a joint analysis conducted by think tank Agora Verkehrswende and the Boston Consulting Group has found. Moreover, the economically weaker states of eastern Germany could emerge as the biggest winners from the transition away from combustion engine technology over the next decade, the organisations said. Even though the shift to electric cars will bring momentous changes to the German automotive industry over the next decade, the number of jobs in the car sector could broadly stay at the same level as today and even slightly increase, they said. "There will be a significant growth in jobs in the producing and supplying industries for companies that are independent of traditional propulsion technology," Agora Verkehrswende said. Together with new jobs in the energy infrastructure sector, energy production and also in plant manufacturing, the shift to e-cars could create up to 205,000 new jobs. At the same time, around 180,000 jobs would eventually be lost in companies that rely on combustion engine technology to a high degree, resulting in a positive net effect of roughly 25,000 jobs.

"Electric mobility is the only viable scenario for the future of passenger cars," Agora Verkehrswende head Christian Hochfeld said. "With a steadfast approach and a holistic view on e-mobility, the German government can make sure that the number of jobs in the German car industry and in associated branches can remain stable until 2030," he argued. Germany had an opportunity to "reinvent itself as a car production location and technological vanguard," provided that policymakers don't delay urgent decisions. Altogether, about 1.7 million people are employed in the automotive industry and associated sectors in Germany in 2021, of which nearly half would face changes to their job profile to varying degrees as combustion engine production gives way to electric engines, the analysis found. If companies received adequate political support in managing this transformation, there would be a real chance that investment in other growth sectors in mobility, for example battery production and software development, are increasingly directed to Germany. Some 30,000 jobs could be created in the huge battery factories currently under construction, mostly in the eastern German states, such as the Tesla Gigafactory in Brandenburg, which is expected to employ some 12,000 people.

The findings seem to contradict a recent warning issued by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), Daniel Zwick writes in Die Welt. "By 2030, more than 200,000 jobs could be lost, particularly in the medium-sized supplier industry, which cannot be created anew under the current conditions," VDA President Hildegard Müller said in May, citing a separate study by Munich’s Ifo Institute, which concluded that the phase-out of the combustible engine would lead to massive job loss.

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