How many times have politicians claimed that electric cars will create more jobs? The left and the right talk about how electric cars will save the earth, as well as putting a chicken in every pot, and a charging station at every garage.
The White House stated in a Sept. 2022 statement that President Trump’s economic plan had created an American electric vehicle (EV), manufacturing boom that has created new economic opportunities and tens to thousands of union jobs throughout the country.
The White House boasted a month later that its heavy emphasis on EVs would “improve America’s energy independence and strengthen national security, support high-paying jobs across the battery supply chain, and lower costs to working families.”
Plug-in America stated in 2022, “This transition has potential to add jobs and stimulate local economies and drive innovation within a segment previously at high risk of stagnation. Making EVs a win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-for consumers, the economy and our planet.”
Economic Policy Institute stated in a 2021 report, that EVs could “rise to 50% of domestic car sales by 2030,” creating 150,000 jobs in the industry. However, this is a large “if” and it also states that the job creation depends on the production of batteries and other parts in the United States.
It’s all great and all, but what does Ford’s European EV push mean for the automotive industry?
Automotive News reports that Ford plans to reduce 3,800 European product development and administrative jobs over the next three-years. The company cited rising costs and the need to have a more efficient structure to pivot production to electric cars.
The report states that the reductions have been about 11% of the European workforce at the automaker, with Germany and Britain being the hardest hit.
Ford will retain 3,400 employees. However, the company has had to make cuts because it relies on American technology and adapts it to European markets.
There is significantly less work required to move drivetrains out of combustion engines. We are moving to a world where there are fewer global platforms and less engineering work. Martin Sander, a Ford executive from Europe, stated that this is why we need to adjust.
One factor that will influence whether EV manufacturing creates jobs or not is the fact that it is less labor-intensive.
According to the New York Times, “The transition to electric cars is complicated by the fact that they have significantly fewer moving parts and require less labor to make — around 30% less,” the New York Times reported in 2021. Ford stats are cited in the report that go back to 2017 long before the major push towards EVs.
It might seem like an apples-to oranges comparison to look at Ford’s European activities, but it is hard to not see the news and believe it is ignoring the repeated promises of EV transitions bringing more jobs to the workforce.
Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, wrote last year that “we have, after all,” been told decarbonization will create lots of jobs. I’m not convinced about net job creation, especially as I mentioned last week. While the transition away greenhouse gases should create a lot of new jobs for lawyers and regulators, as well as some high-paid blue-collar jobs, it will also result in fewer jobs.
It is tempting to think that Ford’s European layoffs bear that out.