Gasoline prices are going up. California has just hit a five-year high with a statewide average of $4.13, which is nearly $1.50 above the national average. While the use of public transportation is increasing across the country, 64 percent of Americans still drive every day. Few people can get rid of their vehicles overnight and commit to public transportation, bicycling or other low-impact method of getting around. Committing to a lower-emissions vehicle, however, is a good first step, and a more practical change for many Americans.
Electric Vehicles Become Increasingly Common on Roadways
There are more electric vehicles (EVs) on the roads than ever before. Manufacturer investment, technologically advanced battery systems and greater consumer comfort are helping drive demand for these sustainable vehicles.
According to data from Consumer Reports, in 2019 five automakers have introduced EVs that can go farther than 200 miles on a full battery charge, and by 2020, there will be another eight models on the market. Range is only half the battle; price is another barrier that has prevented the average American from buying an EV. Consumer Reports also notes that there will be a few different models that retail for under $35,000 after tax credits are used.
Federal tax credits, introduced nine years ago, have helped EVs become more cost-competitive with gasoline vehicles. Customers can get as much as $7,500 in credits based on the EV manufacturer, its size and battery capacity, and the volume of vehicles the manufacturer has sold. Many of these credits are being phased out. Once a manufacturer has sold 200k EVs, the tax credit drops. For example, GM’s tax credit just dropped from $3,750 to $1,875 on Oct. 1, and it’ll be gone entirely by next spring. State credits too are starting to be phased out. It will likely be up to the automakers to find ways to make their EVs affordable without the help of tax credits. Research and development, therefore, is one of the many career needs of the evolving EV market.
Job Prospects in the Electric Vehicle Sector
The latest EV market predictions anticipate explosive growth. Data from IHS Markit shows that EV sales in the U.S. could reach 7.6 percent of the market share by 2026, compared to roughly 1.3 percent in 2018. This growth will inherently create countless jobs.
In fact, a study by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of California, Berkeley predicts expects employment growth in most of the occupations in the EV industry throughout the next several years. As the need for batteries and charging stations increase, more jobs will be created in manufacturing and domestic energy. Americans who found themselves out of work as the automotive industry took a hit will be able to put their skills and experience to use in EV manufacturing.
Aside from manufacturing jobs, the industry will create thousands of other employment opportunities:
Scientists are needed to research ways to improve battery technology and make them recharge faster. Chemists assess the properties, structure of matter and substance reactions to help find new chemicals that can help make existing batteries more efficient.
Engineers and software developers are crucial to develop EV technology and find affordable solutions to technical issues. These professionals also analyze a vehicle’s safety and reliability by analyzing designs in addition to simulating and testing systems.
Equipment and machine assemblers build electric control devices, sensing equipment, motors, generators and more. With the utmost attention to detail, they ensure all EV components fit together seamlessly.
Service technicians inspect and repair EVs, while performing routine maintenance and updating any complex computer systems with tools and electronic equipment. Electricians build charging stations and attach them to lines installed by power-line installers who are needed to increase electrical loads.
Sales and marketing professionals are needed to educate consumers and help them choose the EV that best meets their needs. They must know about all the features, options and tax credits available for all the models of EVs that a dealership has in stock.
The Future of EVs
Regulations to help lower vehicle emissions are getting harder and tougher. Experts predict that bans on internal combustion engine vehicle sales will eventually hit cities across the globe, and even countries as well. As the demand for EVs becomes greater, thanks to carbon taxes and regulatory pressure, we can expect jobs in this sector to flourish and a wealth of opportunities in the coming years.