Bavaria’s PM Markus Söder has boldly stated that “Tesla is not bad, but others can do it too”. This was said in connection to the premise of the story from Deutsche Welle (DW), the German broadcaster which highlighted the threat to German jobs from EVs. It is estimated that almost 800000 jobs in the German automotive sector are under threat if it can’t transition to EVs at the rate at which the market for EVs are growing.
Bavaria’s PM on Tesla- “Tesla is not bad, but others can do it too”
National Platform Future of Mobility (NPM) which is a research agency funded by the German government had published a report this January warning the auto industry in Germany that more than 400,000 of Germany’s 830,000 auto-related jobs could be gone by 2030. The shift from combustion engine cars to zero-emissions mainly EVs is said to be the reason behind this threat.
Electric vehicles production reduces the number of parts to be assembled and much of its assembly can be automated and automation has been repeatedly characterized as the destroyer of auto jobs. The shift to better technology, improved engineering, and automation isn’t just limited to electric vehicle production rather these are broad industry trends.
The German Auto Industry is indeed changing but not at the same pace of the market, it is transitioning at a much slower pace. NPM has summed up the issue as “The production of electric vehicles can be automated more easily. If there is no improvement in the competitive position of the German industry in the area of electromobility in the next few years, and if the need for imports of battery cells and electric vehicles continues to grow in light of the launch of electromobility, employment structures will be severely hit”.
The trade unions in Germany and the VDA (German Association of the Automotive Industry) trade body adamantly believe these predictions are false and have said that they will make sure such events will not occur.
DW has explained that the 9,500 job losses by 2025 at VW brand Audi were not in the form of ‘firings.’ They will come along demographic lines (retiring colleagues not being replaced, early retirement schemes, etc.). The job losses were also announced alongside the creation of new electromobility jobs. The discussions between Bavarian PM Markus Söder and Audi CEO Markus Duesmann at a public forum today reached the same conclusion
The Prime Minister said “We need a real quantum leap. There has to be more speed.”
Audi CEO replied, “We have to make decisions faster. We have to jump now.”
Audi had suffered a setback in February when Audi had to temporarily suspended production of its e-tron electric SUV due to problems regarding the supply of battery. The production of the car takes place in Belgium. The company is planning an assembly plant for electric-car battery packs near its plant in Ingolstadt.
I don’t see honestly Tesla to be ahead with Lithium-Ion Technology, with Batteries I definitely don’t see them as leading, says CEO of Audi
Both Söder and Duesmann agree that the German auto industry have an excellent opportunity in claiming a leadership role in EV production over Tesla. Söder said, “Tesla is not bad, but others can do it too. We can stay ahead in engineering.” Audi’s CEO said that Tesla does not have a gigantic lead in battery technology compared to Audi. “We’re catching up,” he said.
Audi CEO Duesmann, July 9th, 2020
"I don't see honestly Tesla to be ahead with Lithium-Ion Technology (…) with Batteries I definitely don't see them as leading"
Dear Mr. Duesman,
To deny reality is the worst you can do.https://t.co/R2obxD7Cfk
— Alex (@alex_avoigt) July 9, 2020
He also emphasized on the need to reduce CO2 emissions from petrol-powered cars, the introduction of hybrid-petrol electric vehicles, and the use of 5G communications. Mr Markus Duesmann, was appointed as Audi’s CEO on April 1, established a special Artemis project to break through the company’s bureaucracy and to implement additional high-tech benchmarks for future projects without jeopardizing the manageability of existing projects.
In the past few years, Tesla has just blew up and is now the most valuable automaker in the world surpassing Toyota, it is posing a serious threat to the German Auto Industry which is considered one of the best in the world. In the light of this threat, the discussion between Bavaria’s prime minister and Audi’s CEO reveals the trajectory of German politicians and Auto companies on the existential need to shift to EVs as the market trends indicate that danger is clear and present. The stakes so are high that most of the other manufacturers are soon expected to follow suit.
This doesn’t mean that Combustion engine cars are going to be confined to the history books any time soon, the production of both ICE Cars and EVs must work in tandem with a greater focus given to enhancing the production while making combustion engines less polluting.