Is The Automotive Industry Geared For Change?

5 min read

By Mark Beattie

Consultant

The negative press surrounding the automotive industry is at an all-time high. From the looming, potentially ‘fatal’ government taxes on diesel vehicles to the lowest sales figures in six years, it seems that our automotive industry is in flux. That is, at least, to the average consumer.

Despite so much publicity surrounding diesel and petrol it was not, and is not, a low point for the automotive industry; in fact, quite the opposite.

2017 marked the sixth highest year in car sales since 1960 and, more interestingly, a key development year for the electric car.

The Rise of Electric

Last year saw 2 million electric cars on the road. The International Energy Agency predicts that this figure will rise to 20 million by 2020, and 70 million by 2025. Electric cars are fast gaining the status of a mainstream vehicle and, with no fuel costs and simpler, lower-maintenance engines, it’s unsurprising. Electric cars are cheaper to own and run than petrol or diesel and according to analysis by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit in the UK, electric car sales could outstrip diesel cars as early as May 2019.

A Greener Future

Electric cars also mark a monumental milestone in automobile development: tangible steps towards a greener, more sustainable future. Electrics cars no longer run on internal combustion engines but instead are powered by batteries. As a result, they produce far less carbon emissions so don’t contribute as significantly to climate change, a massive concern in current politics given the illegal levels of toxicity in a lot of our urban areas.

Global car manufacturers are making major steps in the right direction, focussing development on environmentally-friendly vehicles; Volvo have promised that all new models will have an electric motor from 2019, Honda have pledged that all of their European models will be hybrid or fully electric from this year, Hyundai have said that by 2020 over 50% of their models will be powered by batteries, and Jaguar Land Rover have announced that all new launches will now be electrified to some degree. Tesla, who were key innovators in the electric car design, are now onto the development of a 100 kWH battery pack for their models S and X and their Nevada Gigafactory is soon to become the world’s largest producer of batteries.

With so much development underway, world leaders are also joining in the pledge for a greener future: Norway will be banning the sales of new fossil fuel based cars by 2025, France and the UK have said the same by 2040, and the mayors of Paris, Madrid and Mexico City have all said they will ban diesel vehicles in their city centres by 2025.

Work to be Done

Whilst progress is visible, there is still a lot of work to be done in the sector. Firstly, as more electric cars take to the roads, more charging points will be needed. Currently, there are 115,000 electric cars in the UK and 13,000 charging points spread across 4,500 locations. As the number of vehicles increases, charging facilities will have to follow suit, so the government are contributing £200m to a £400m fund to upgrade the electric car-charging infrastructure, as well as setting aside a further £40m for research and development into charging technology.

The Future of the Industry, and the Demand for Specialist Talent

With the mass of conflicting press that the industry is generating, it’s easy to see why consumers remain confused. Are diesel models a good investment? How reliable is the electric market going into the future? Will the cost of electric models lessen over the next few years?

Whilst it’s easy to focus on the negatives – the drop in the number of petrol and diesel vehicle sales and the knock on effects this will have on jobs – all worry centred on these likelihoods ignores the huge potential of electric vehicles.

Electric cars will play a huge role in the creation of new jobs in the sector. With new models and new designs come the need for new skills and expertise: people with the ability to engineer the cars of the future. The industry will need new technicians able to service, restore and maintain the new models. A growing electric car industry will also generate new jobs within batteries and software companies, which will likely increase in number too. Whilst these newer roles will require a new branch of skills, old knowledge is not entirely redundant, especially in the hybrid market.

The increase in opportunities in this sector – and a widening skills gap – is hugely apparent in automotive recruitment. Contrary to speculative rumour, jobs in this field are booming. CSG has a dedicated recruitment team who are specialists in this market. With vast networks of expert talent in this field, and a proven track record placing candidates in long-term senior roles, we have the tools and experience necessary to ensure your business stays ahead in an ever-changing market. If you would benefit from our recruitment services, contact me at mark.beattie@csgtalent.com.

 

References

The Guardian, Treasury backs electric cars but makes limited moves on diesel, 22.11.17

The Guardian, Electric cars already cheaper to own and run than petrol or diesel – study, 1.12.17

Forbes, The Auto Industry Can't Ignore The Electric Vehicle Revolution Any Longer, 7.9.17

Forbes, Automotive Industry Is Racing To Meet Electric Vehicle Demand In China, 16.10.17

The Financial Times, The electric car revolution will leave many behind, 28.7.17