Electric cars could put 100,000 German jobs at risk

The rise of electric vehicles could put as many as 100,000 jobs at risk in Germany’s auto industry, according to a study published Tuesday.

Commissioned by the country’s carmakers and IG Metall labor union, the study found that 75,000 jobs could be lost if 25% of all cars are electric by 2030, 15% are plug-in hybrids and 60% efficient gas and diesel models.

A more rapid adoption of electric vehicles could threaten 100,000 jobs, IG Metall said in a statement.

The study was conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute of Industrial Engineering. It said the numbers already reflected the creation of 25,000 new jobs needed to manufacture the batteries and other components for electric vehicles.

In their model, the researchers assumed that the same number of powertrains would be produced in 2030 as in 2016. And they took into account the normal advances in productivity that mean fewer people are needed to produce the same amount of goods.

Overall, the move away from gas and diesel cars could affect more than half of the 210,000 workers who develop and produce powertrains for Germany’s car industry, which employs about 840,000 people in total.

“The challenge is indeed great, but can be managed if the right conditions are created now,” said IG Metall chief Jörg Hofmann. “Politicians and industry now need to develop strategies to shape this transformation,” he added.

Companies need to embark on sweeping job retraining schemes to qualify workers for new technologies while politicians need to come up with a comprehensive industrial employment policy, Hofmann said.

This could include investing in new products for new markets that have nothing to do with cars, the union official added.