Experts warn switch from petrol and diesel to EVs could see the loss of 22,000 UK jobs
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Some 22,000 British jobs linked to petrol and diesel car manufacturing are at risk due to the huge switch to electric vehicles. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) warned that even a successful transition to EVs will result in thousands fewer jobs available and many people retraining.
Combustion engines and other parts not found in electric vehicles currently account for £11billion in sales in the UK.
That represents around 15 percent of the UK automotive industry in total, according to the SMMT.
As many as 22,000 jobs are directly linked to international combustion engine cars.
But a transition to EVs would only create an estimated 10,000 jobs, the SMMT warned.
The SMMT says this is a “conservative estimate”, but it raises the prospect of thousands of job losses in the sector, reported the Daily Telegraph.
Electric cars are far less complicated to make than combustion-driven cars, with fewer parts to design and fewer people needed to manufacture them.
Many of those workers will be forced to retrain.
Some working in areas such as safety, entertainment, or interiors are likely to be unaffected by the transition to electric.
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But many of the engines in British-made vehicles are made in UK factories such as Bentley’s plant in Crewe.
Ford employs 1,830 people at its Dagenham plant making diesel engines used in its Puma, Focus, Kuga, Transit Courier, Transit Connect and Galaxy models.
The SMMT said the auto industry and its supply chain must “make a major transition to remain viable”.
The report stated that half a million jobs will be lost in Europe as motoring goes electric, with only 226,000 created in new roles like battery production.
The SMMT also said that the UK’s auto industry faces £90m in extra spending from higher energy costs.
The UK car industry already spends £50m more than its EU-based competitors on power, the industry says.
Energy costs will influence where big manufacturers decide to invest in new factories and the massive battery plants the UK will need to keep its industry going.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Help with energy costs now will help keep us competitive and be a windfall for the sector, stimulating investment in innovation, R&D, training – all reinvested in the UK economy.
“With the right backing this sector can drive the transition to net zero, supporting jobs and growth across the UK and exports across the globe.”
The UK car industry is not classed as an “energy-intensive” industry like steel, glass making, and the chemical industry.
If it were, which the SMMT has lobbied for, it would receive a discount on electricity prices.
However, battery manufacturing has been included in the Government’s definition.
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