To say that someone working in the auto industry has the same skills as a software engineer is about the same as saying that a doctor and a teacher have the same skills. Obviously, while this is just a silly example, we know that the skillset it takes to work in the auto industry, building and fixing cars, is night and day different to that of knowing how to fix a computer. And yet, the auto industry is vastly changing as electric cars are becoming more and more common and require less maintenance than traditional cars. Furthermore, many people are predicting that the car industry will need fewer people in the future, as we rely more on electric cars and assembly lines with machines building them.
Electric cars require little maintenance such as oil changes and don’t really break down much. Electronic vehicles will have the option of being fixed remotely, since they are run on computers. ?” The United States auto industry employs over 750,000 people, according to a Dec. 2017 article in The Washington Post titled “‘People are freaking out.’ Will electric vehicles doom your neighborhood auto mechanic. There are also about 160,000 auto repair shops in the United States and in order to stay in business, they rely on minor repairs like oil changes, changing fuel filters and spark plugs. While the cost to purchase electric vehicles is undoubtedly higher than traditional cars, the cost of maintenance is a lot less.
According to mckinsey.com, in the future, an electric car will have over 200 million lines of software code. This will really shift the need for trained computer experts rather than professionals in the auto industry as we know it today. When cars operate on computers, experts in IT are what are needed.
Other experts feel that we are a long way off from seeing the need for auto industry professionals to dip, if it happens at all. According to businessinsider.com, in May of 2017, electronic vehicles only accounted for 1% of all auto sales. In the past two years, over 34 million vehicles have been sold in the United States, and nearly all of those run on gas. Across the world, there were only two million electric vehicles on the road last year. Perhaps the biggest reason for this is the cost of electric vehicles is still substantially higher than that of cars that run on gas.
Another reason is that gas is convenient and easy to find in nearly any city in the developed world. On the contrary, electric charging stations are still pretty rare. There are also limitations right now on the size of electric cars. Most are made to only fit four people comfortably, which limits larger families. Also, electric cars will still need some maintenance like their tires to be rotated. A disadvantage to electric cars is that since they run on computers, they are complex and when they need to be fixed, the repairs are likely pricey since they take a specialized skillset.
In coming back to our original question—will electric cars bring less work to the auto industry? In a nutshell, it is just too soon to tell. But at this point, fuel cars are not going anywhere, and it is looking like they will be around for a long time. Electric cars are still limited in terms of options and their price point will need to drop quite a bit in order to make them something the average person can afford.