New and Potential Careers in Battery-Powered Vehicles and Equipment
Supercharged positions in science, design, and manufacturing
The Electric Vehicle World Sales Database reports that the United States is the second largest market for plug-in vehicles. Year-over-year growth in 2017 was 27%, and it’s predicted to be above 100% for 2018. The prediction is for more than 400,000 electric vehicles to be sold across the country bolstered by Tesla, the Nissan Leaf, and the Chevy Bolt.
That will put more than 1.1 million electric vehicles on American roads – not to mention the battery-powered equipment being used in construction and other applications – which makes it safe to say that we’re not looking at a fad.
It may still take a while, but the days of vehicles powered by gas- and diesel-drinking internal combustion engines are on the wane. It’s giving rise to new opportunities and careers, as the industry looks for men and women to design, create, sell, and maintain the next generation of battery-powered vehicles and equipment.
R & D is king
Further consumer adoption is going to require getting past the obstacle of the distance and time between recharging. This need is creating excellent opportunities for anyone with the knowledge and background to help innovate in this area.
It’s a boon for chemists and materials researchers in particular. And while these are jobs that require advanced degrees, the industry to support battery production will create opportunities for anyone who is otherwise qualified and interested in energy storage.
Anyone with an industrial or electronics engineering background will find a steadily increasing number of jobs being created to design and develop the components for EVs and other equipment, as well as the tools to maintain them.
While research and design may be independent of location, most manufacturing jobs being created by the electric vehicle revolution tend to remain clustered around traditional industrial centers in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions – exclusive of Tesla.
The finished vehicles are being manufactured in existing large automotive assembly parts – but many of the components are made by smaller companies that usually located nearby. Many of these manufacturing jobs employ robotics, especially those that create small and fragile components.
Humans will always be in charge, however, and it’s likely that many opportunities for computer-controlled machine tool operators will be created.
Somebody’s got to build and maintain all those charging systems that will keep this equipment operational. Some of these charging stations will be in our homes, while many more will be public and strategically located.
Adding this to our existing infrastructure creates opportunities at utility companies as well as with urban or regional planners. From an infrastructure standpoint, there is likely to be a wide range of jobs coming online that are not as specific to the EV industry.
Sales and support
Want to sell electric vehicles or equipment? The good news is that nearly all the education you’ll need will come from the dealership. Your ability to excel here will depend on your communication and sales skills.
The increase in battery-powered equipment will also generate the need for mechanics who specialize in repairing and maintaining vehicles with all-electric or hybrid engines. This is knowledge an existing mechanic can learn, so it’s not likely to put anybody out of a job.
Those who specialize, though, may find an opportunity to earn higher wages. Meanwhile, though they tend to have fewer components than their combustion counterparts, battery-powered vehicles and equipment still need maintenance – and they still get flat tires.
These new career opportunities extend beyond just the cars we’ll drive on the road. There are already entire fleets of battery-powered construction equipment in place on construction sites. There’s also a good chance that your local landscaper has already started to make the switch to more economical and quieter electric equipment.