As the world’s automotive industries enter the early years of the transition from fuel-powered internal combustion engines to rechargeable batteries, a growing concern has been raised about whether a sustainable future will bring enough jobs for American workers – not to worry – the future is looking bright. A mainly gas-free transportation sector will need factory workers and a whole lot of engineers. Led by traditional automakers like General Motors as well as the new school of Tesla, Lordstown, and Hyliion, electric vehicle manufacturers are sprouting factories all across the country to account for a projected increase in demand. And, with these new factories comes the need for thousands of American workers.
General Motors has historically been one of the largest automakers on the planet. Decades ago, the company was a great American success story – popular around the world, as well as the center of the Detroit area thriving hub of economic prosperity. While the golden years of GM brought with them high carbon emissions, it appears that this automotive giant is adapting to a gasoline-free future. GM recently announced plans to go all-electric by 2035, so it can reasonably be assumed that a large portion of its 94,000 American workers will make the transition as well.
Beyond converting existing workers into electric, GM has also been taking steps to create new jobs in that EV sector. The company is hiring 3,000 workers in engineering, IT, and design to help with product and software development as it starts to transition, and is opening up new factories that are strictly for the electric side of manufacturing. Along with LG Chem, GM is spending over $2 billion to construct a plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, for the production of Ultium batteries. The factory is expected to create 1,300 jobs, mainly in manufacturing.
Never one to shy away from the limelight, Tesla is shaping up to be among the leading employers for electric vehicle manufacturing in the US. Company CEO Elon Musk has very publicly made moves to shift a majority of its operations to Texas and is bringing factories and jobs to Austin and surrounding areas. Austin’s “Gigafactory Texas” is currently under construction, and is currently seeking around 300 workers. That number should increase to 5,000 jobs, mainly in manufacturing, once the factory is up and running. The Gigafactory jobs come at no environmental cost as well, as Tesla states that the factory will draw entirely from renewable sources. In addition to this facility, Tesla has plans for another project close to Austin in the near future. Not much is known about the mysterious “Bobcat Project”, other than the fact that it will be anywhere from 100 to 150 acres in size. All in all, Musk predicts that Tesla’s total Texas investment will create as many as 10,000 new jobs within the state.
There is no shortage of emerging, soon-to-be players in electric vehicles bringing jobs to the US. Canadian-based Lion Electric Company recently announced a venture to construct a factory in Illinois to produce medium and heavy-duty electric vehicles. The establishment of the factory should create around 800 jobs. In Arizona, Lucid Motors will build a factory for making the Lucid Air, a luxury electric sedan. The state has worked to encourage this development, even setting up trade schools for training Arizonans to work at the upcoming factory. Initially employing 750 people, the facility will hire up to 2,000 once running at full capacity. An electric truck manufacturer from London named Arrival is planning a facility in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and will bring about 240 new jobs to the state.
The EV manufacturing industry is buzzing with excitement. More players are entering the vertical and the U.S. wins with more jobs, cleaner air, and innovative leadership.