Electrical Vehicles are taking over!
The market for electric vehicles has grown rapidly over the last few years, and following the trends we can see that this market will continue to grow exponentially.
‘a little over 2 million over the 2011–21 decade. (See chart 1.) Several factors are expected to continue to drive consumer demand for EVs over the 2021–31: environmental concerns, greater vehicle choice, improved battery capacity, and cost savings.’ (Colato & Ice, 2023)
Colato and Ice have discussed that switching to electrical vehicles saves consumers money in relation to fuel, maintenance etc. And as time continues, battery prices for vehicles should drop in price too making electrical vehicle prices closer to conventical car prices. (Colato & Ice, 2023)
These new technologies will be highly beneficial in the engineering industry- it will allow for new products and jobs to be developed in the automotive world. However, these new changes will also cause possible displacements in jobs.
‘James Ayre, writing in CleanTechnica, said that over $90 billion in investments have now been pledged for the development of electric vehicles and associated battery tech by the world’s top auto manufacturers.’ (Davis, 2018) Proving that all major manufactures are starting to move their developments over to electrically powered vehicles. Constance Douris, vice president of the Lexington Institute stated that ‘A glance at automakers’ EV investments worldwide is revealing: $19 billion in the United States, $21 billion in China, and $52 billion in Germany. Clearly, these seasoned companies do not doubt the future EV market as many cities and countries around the world begin phasing out the conventional internal combustion engine.’ (Davis, 2018)
But what does this mean for the engineering industry and the future for engineering as we know it?
With this shift towards electric vehicle development, we expect to see the role of the automotive engineer change, with particular emphasis on battery knowledge. With an increase of attention towards climate changes people have wanted to find efficient renewable energy sources to improve the state of our world. This has spurred a flow in electric vehicles which manufactures are pouring more of their time into. There are two main types of electrical vehicles: battery and plug in hybrids. Some even use fuel cells that utilise hydrogen gas and a hybrid of both electric and combustion engines. (Matchtech, 2023)
Engineering will become more mechanical focused- engineers will have to learn how electrical vehicles work and the differences between a regular engine and an electrical one. Lots of opportunities on the rise in regard to this. However, lots more learning and training will be needed in apprenticeships and to engineers to teach them about the new rules with electrical vehicles.
Colato, J. and Ice, L. (2023) Factors contributing to a growing electric vehicle market, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Available at: https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-12/charging-into-the-future-the-transition-to-electric-vehicles.htm (Accessed: 13 September 2023).
Davis, S. (2018) The EV revolution will require more engineers - electronic design, The EV Revolution Will Require More Engineers. Available at: https://www.electronicdesign.com/markets/automotive/article/21807107/the-ev-revolution-will-require-more-engineers (Accessed: 13 September 2023).
Expanding Skillsets: The Electric Vehicle and the automotive engineer (no date) Matchtech. Available at: https://www.matchtech.com/resources/expanding-skillsets-the-electric-vehicle-and-the-automotive-engineer (Accessed: 13 September 2023).