Be Careful Of What You Wish For: That Electric Car Could Take Your Job Away

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
be careful of what you wish for that electric car could take your job away

Throughout the bailout bonanza, we were told that the car industry means million of jobs. True enough, before the money was doled out, we learned that auto-related industries employ 3.1 million people around the country. Now, the government is paying big bucks for electric car development. From Tesla all the way to Nissan, the industry is getting $ 25 billions of DOE loans, conditional on the development of advanced vehicle technologies. Which usually means electric cars. What’s wrong with that picture? If successful, it could cost a big chunk of those 3.1 million jobs.

According to The Nikkei [sub] electric vehicles require around one-third of the parts used in conventional automobiles. Let’s take bearings. “If electric vehicles become popular, our business would face head winds,” says Naoki Mitsue, Chief of Japanese bearing maker NSK. An ICE powered car uses between 120 and 150 bearings. An electric car is happy with half of that.

That tricky 7 speed DSG twin clutch transmission could be replaced with something of washer/dryer complexity. Compare an electric motor with a car engine and its myriad of moving high precision parts, driven by thousands of controlled explosions per minute, and you’ll agree that an electric car is a model of simplicity. It’s also a job eater.

Fewer parts, less work. As the car gets simpler, there is less to repair and replace: Mr: Goodwrench could face the fate of the Maytag Man.

If that battery wouldn’t be so obscenely expensive (and with the help of the DOE, they are supposedly working on that), the electric car would cost much less than a conventional one. Once it does, less jobs in banking. Repo men will line up for unemployment benefits. You think it’s a joke?

Japanese parts manufacturers “face the grim prospect that some of their products will become obsolete in the era of electric vehicles,” writes the Nikkei, and reports that “autoparts makers have begun searching for new business models to make up for the inevitable sales declines.” Of course, they plan to make electric parts. But at the end of the day, there is no denying that one third of the parts means one third (or less) of the work.

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  • Sfenders Sfenders on May 30, 2010

    With governments around the world already subsidizing the hell out of electric cars, they may as well chip in to solve this problem as well. It's not difficult: They can hire half the newly-unemployed auto workers to dig ditches, and the other half to fill them in again. It's shovel-ready!

  • Mythicalprogrammer Mythicalprogrammer on May 31, 2010

    The adoption rate for these EV will be slow and probably gradual that the unemployment problems isn't going to be bad. It's just a shifting in the industry like any other disruptive technologies (such as the internet). It'll just shift people's field and stuff and create more jobs anyway. The synergy with EV and batteries advancement would help in other area such as smart phone lasting longer than a day or two and would enable more jobs. The benefits will out weigh the con. It's silly to stay with old technologies and not advance or try new things. EV is going to be the future it just depend on when. Oil is a limited resource. We can't just buy cheap crap made in China while expecting them to not rise in oil consumption. It's like passing Medicare Plan D, having two wars, while passing the largest tax cut ever. Best plan ever.

  • Azfelix From certain angles the bonnet appears oversized with respect to the rest of the car - like a skinny teenager wearing a bulky sweater nicked from her older sister's wardrobe.
  • Tassos This is way too god damned OLD, 21 years old to have all the necessary options you need TODAY. You need a 10 year old or less car. AND if you give us THIS POS, a 21 year old model, that is not even a LUXURY car, whoever pays $10k for a Golf, And I Do NOT care what anniversary it is (they are all UTTERLY INSIGNIFICANT) deserves to get this MOST UNRELIABLE AND COSTLY TO REPAIR OF ALL LOUSY ECONOBOXES< EVEN THE DOMESTICS AND THE KOREANS.
  • Tassos As you say, Toyota confirmed this on TUESDAY. Today is WEDNESDAY. Why is everything on TTAC held back one or more days before you tell us the NEWS when it is NO MORE THE NEWS?
  • MRF 95 T-Bird You can find a decent and far more stylish Audi TT or an S4 of a similar vintage for under $10k.
  • RHD "In all situations, the grip of the tires (225/40R18 front, 225/35R18 rear) brings with it road noise."Are the rear tires actually smaller than the fronts??!! Adding just a bit of sidewall would take care of the bumps and rough ride. I'm not a fan of BMWs, personally, but this is a very enjoyable car. There are times when driving a convertible is pure bliss, and with a bit of power it's fun as well. (And certainly a better drive than a gussied-up, overpriced German taxicab!)