The electrical breakthrough in the automotive sector risks costing Italy dearly, which among the seven countries examined by the PwC Strategy & study carried out on behalf of CLEPA, the European association of suppliers to the automotive industry, is the most penalized . The powertrain sector would be almost decimated, at least on the basis of the models developed by the researchers. The worst scenario would be the one currently envisaged by the European Union setting, which aims to ban the sale of new cars and commercial vehicles with combustion engines in 2035. According to the simulations, in this case the contraction in employment would be very heavy: from the current 74,000 to 15,000 in 2040. Volumes would be halved: from 8.7 to 4.7 billion, because Italy is excluded from the large batch of batteries which would compensate for the drop in turnover in the continental powertrain: from 67.1 billion to 104, including the 70 of the accumulators. On the contrary, in the case of a mixed approach, the number of employees could even increase and reach 77,000 units.
There is a lack of semiconductors, increases in steel and plastic prices. Anfia: “Occupation at risk” (Mattia Eccheli)
In Europe there are half a million positions at risk, even if the negative balance would be “only” 274,000 employees because electrification is also destined to create new figures. BMW, for example, which in 2021 was quick to suppress 6,000 positions, has announced for this year a plan to hire as many employees to meet the growing demand for battery-powered cars.
“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 related to production or the fuels they use, including how electricity is generated, ”CLEPA complains.
Stefan Pischinger, professor at the Aachen Polytechnic in Germany, is succinct: “The problem is not combustion engines, but fossil fuels”. CLEPA urges the EU to also award eco-credits to companies investing in alternative options, designed to reduce the impact of vehicles with conventional engines, which will continue to circulate even after 2035. The electric car is still a purchase of luxury: “In the next ten years people will not change cars – admonishes Laurianne Krid, regional general manager of the FIA - It is an important resource and a great investment”.
“We believe that insufficient attention is paid to the challenges related to the transition”, warns Sigrid de Vries, CLEPA Secretary General, who asks the Commission to also assess the social and not just the environmental impact of emissions policies. The partnership represents 3,000 companies with 1.7 million employees in the EU, almost 60% of the 2.9 million employed in the automotive industry.
In comparison with the other countries – Germany, France, Spain, Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania – the Italian suppliers of the powertrain segment are the least attractive. Not just because of the cost and labor legislation, but also because of the level of automation and the ability to create added value, the research reveals. Regardless of the scenario, France (favored by the fact that nuclear power has low CO2 emissions, but the costs for the disposal of waste are excluded) is destined to grow: from 28,000 to 31,000 employees in the case of an exclusively electric approach and 42,000 with that mixed. The companies in the sector operating in the beautiful country are heavily unbalanced on thermal engines and risk being the first to “jump” with the thrust of electrification. In addition to having a political impact, Italy could magnetize investments by increasing the share of renewables (wind and solar). Henning Rennert, who supervised the study, speculates that a strong demand for electric cars produced domestically could have positive effects: “Transporting batteries, heavy and flammable – he explains – has high costs and it is preferable that the factories are nearby”.
The electrification will also have repercussions on the budgets of the states. The study by the RAC Foundation anticipates how the growth in volumes of cars on tap risks plummeting revenue related to excise duties: from the equivalent of almost 20 billion euros in 2019 to less than 16 billion estimated for 2028 in the United Kingdom alone. In Italy, including lubricants, there were over 37 billion.