Move to electric vehicles could negatively impact employment in EU - ACEA

04 September 2018 10:57 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--A “forced push” for electric cars in the EU may affect staffing levels in the chemical-intensive automotive industry, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) said on Tuesday.

ACEA’s statement was inspired by a recent report by FTI Consulting and comes in response to the European Commission’s impact assessment, which looked to identify potential implications of the proposed reduction targets on the EU automotive industry.

The FTI report stated that the Commission has underestimated the negative impact of the proposed CO2 targets, saying a rushed shift to electric vehicles will have a “profound impact” on employment.

“This is because the production and maintenance of battery electric vehicles is less labour intensive than conventional ones, given their lower mechanical complexity and fewer parts.”

The report also said that there could be serious implications for the entire automotive supply chain, disproportionally affecting suppliers of parts and components.

“Europe’s automotive suppliers are expected to produce roughly 38% less parts and components for electric cars, compared to a loss of around 17% for automobile manufacturers.”

According to ACEA, it is estimated that batteries will make up 35-50% of the cost of an electric car in the future, but it is wary that those batteries may not be produced in the European Union and may be imported instead, thus negatively impacting the number of people employed in the industry in the EU.

Auto manufacturers are eager to move as fast as they can towards zero-emission vehicles,” said ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert, commenting on the findings of the report.

“However, the entire European automotive supply chain will need to transform at a pace which is manageable, protecting employment and the long-term viability of the sector.

“This report makes it clear that overly stringent CO2 targets, as well as unrealistic sales quota for battery electric vehicles (the so-called ‘benchmarks’), could lead to serious structural problems across the EU.”

Picture source: Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock

By Niall Swan