The Impact of Electric Vehicles

The automotive industry is undergoing a significant transformation as electric vehicles (EVs) continue to gain popularity. This shift poses both challenges and opportunities for workers in the industry.

Reduced Complexity and Job Losses, EVs have far fewer components compared to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles. An EV typically has around 1,500 to 3,000 parts, while a gasoline-powered car has approximately 30,000. This simplification means a decreased demand for workers involved in manufacturing components like engines, exhaust systems, radiators, and fuel tanks.

Global Impact

The transition to EVs is expected to have a significant impact on the global automotive workforce. The European Union (EU) aims to phase out the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2035, potentially leading to job losses of up to 14.6 million people, representing 7% of the EU’s manufacturing workforce.

The United States has also witnessed job cuts in the automotive sector. Major American automakers like General Motors (GM) and Ford have announced layoffs in recent years to adapt to the changing industry landscape. GM eliminated 14,000 positions in late 2018, while Ford reduced its global workforce by 10% in 2019.

Japan, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, is also bracing for a major shift in its automotive industry. With only 1% of vehicles in Japan being electric currently, the transition is expected to eliminate around 300,000 jobs in the traditional automotive sector.

Thailand’s Automotive Industry at a Crossroads

The Thai automotive industry, a major contributor to the country’s economy, is facing a similar transition. The sector generates around 10-12% of Thailand’s GDP and employs approximately 1 million people across the supply chain. Thailand currently stands as the 11th largest vehicle producer globally.

The rapid growth of EVs in Thailand, with sales reaching 70,000 units or 9% of total new vehicle sales, highlights the industry’s transformation. The government’s ambitious target of increasing EV sales to 30% or 700,000 units by 2030 further underscores the need for adaptation.

Preparing for the Future

The transition to EVs presents challenges for workers in the traditional automotive industry, but it also offers opportunities for reskilling and upskilling. Governments and industry leaders must play a proactive role in supporting workers through training programs and social safety nets to ensure a smooth transition to the new era of electric mobility.

Embracing innovation and adapting to technological advancements will be crucial for the survival and growth of the automotive industry in Thailand and around the world. By investing in education, training, and research, the industry can prepare its workforce for the future and ensure a sustainable and competitive future.