07 Dec 2021, 12:55
Jessica Bateman

Suppliers say 'mixed approach' with e-cars and e-fuels could save many European car industry jobs

Clean Energy Wire

Following a "mixed technology approach" in the decarbonisation of Europe's transport sector could deliver significant CO2 emissions reduction while simultaneously preserving tens of thousands of jobs in the sector a study by Clepa, the association of European automotive suppliers, has found. Half a million jobs in the European car industry could be lost due to the transition to electric vehicles, the lobby group said, predicting that the number of employees will grow until 2025 and then fall dramatically until 2035, when only new electric vehicles will be registered. Of the current 645,000 jobs in the industry, more than 500,000 could be lost, Clepa estimates. New jobs totalling about 225,000 will be created, but these will not necessarily be in the same companies or locations. The authors predict that Eastern Europe will be most affected, but also that over 80,000 jobs in Germany will be lost, and that Italy will also be affected significantly. France on the other hand may benefit from a large number of new battery factories due to its cheap energy prices. The association is calling for the EU’s Green Deal to be adjusted so that emissions from car production are included in a vehicle’s carbon footprint, and that car manufacturers are allowed to buy e-fuels and add them to petrol at filling stations. However, climate protectionists are against e-fuels for cars as many other transport methods, such as shipping, cannot be electrified. In addition, energy is lost when converting renewable energy to e-fuels, meaning cars that run of them actually require more electricity than e-cars.

Despite its wide range of car industry suppliers, Germany has not included passenger vehicles in its green hydrogen plans and largely focused on fully electric vehicles. But the new coalition treaty stopped short of naming an end date for combustion engine technology, a demand voiced by the coalition partner Free Democrats (FDP). The party that provides Germany’s new transport minister, Volker Wissing, has consistently advocated for including e-fuels in mobility transition plans.

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