Clepa alarm, the suppliers of the auto industry: “Switching to electric vehicles can cost half a million jobs”

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The knots are coming to a head, even if the complaint comes from an association that is not really super partes, namely Clepa, which represents the suppliers of the automotive industry (European Association of Automotive Suppliers), that is 3,000 companies that invest every year ‘equivalent of 30 billion in research and development with 1.7 million employees in the EU, excluding induced activities. According to a study, commissioned by the same association, the “approach based exclusively on electric vehicles could lead to the loss of half a million jobs in the European Union”. Among other things, not even solving the real problem that led to the turning point.

Clepa assures that “the current Fit-for-55 proposal for CO2 emissions standards for cars and vans only takes into account emissions from the vehicle’s tailpipe, ignoring those relating to production or the fuels they use, including how electricity is generated ”. According to Clepa, with a less radical strategy that also includes hybrid technologies, green hydrogen and renewable fuels “by 2030 it would be possible to reduce CO2 emissions by 50%”.

It is not the first time that the topic has been raised, but with the “stake” of 501,000 employees, the arguments take on a different meaning. The analysis conducted by PwC Strategy & based on the responses to 199 questionnaires and 33 interviews reveals that 70% of the positions (359,000) are already at risk of being suppressed in the five-year period from 2030 to 2035. The data is only partially balanced by the potential creation of new jobs by 2040 in the electricity production chain, including the European supply chain linked to batteries, but still potential. There is talk of 226,000 new employees, with an overall negative balance of 275,000 employed.

In the case of a mixed approach, in Italy the number of employees would go from 74,000 in 2020 to 77,000 in 2040, while with the electric option alone they would drop to 15,000. In none of the other seven countries surveyed would the contraction be that important. Indeed, in France, with electric vehicles alone, employees would go from 28,000 to 31,000. In the opinion of the authors of the study, the mixed approach would make it possible to “maintain employment and create added value”.

The alarm of the European supply chain – which recalls that it is worth 60% of the automotive manufacturing employment in 13 of the member states (including Germany, Spain and France) – concerns the economic repercussions. Clepa explains that unlike the car manufacturers, its associates, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises (which represent 99% of the entire community production fabric at an absolute level) do not have the same ease of changing business models and access to capital. And, above all, they find it more difficult to compensate for the losses related to the turnover related to the powertrains because they have long-term agreements with the manufacturers.

Also according to the study, 70% of the turnover that depends on electric motors will come from the processing of batteries, from the production of cells, from modules and from the assembly of accumulators. Unsurprisingly, suppliers located in Eastern Europe are still much more oriented towards technologies related to internal combustion engines. Sigrid de Vries, secretary general of Clepa, claimed the role of suppliers whose innovations “have made electric mobility increasingly accessible for consumers”.

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