Electrification, lightweighting to drive major engineering job growth

  • 15-Nov-2011 03:21 EST
Dr. Axel Krieger of McKinsey.JPG

Although he expects combustion engines to remain in 75% of new vehicles by 2030, McKinsey’s Dr. Axel Krieger said two-thirds of their powertrains will feature some type of e-motor. (Lindsay Brooke)

Blog from the 2011 SAE International Batteries and E-Motors Summit

SHANGHAI, CHINA—Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 15, 2011—“Me-chem-tronics” is the convergence of mechanical, chemical, and electrical/electronics engineering skills that are defining automotive product development jobs now and in the future, due to new vehicle designs, powertrains, and materials.

“Electrification on its own is creating a major ‘competence shift’ for engineers and technicians in this industry,” said Dr. Axel Krieger, a Beijing-based partner at industry consultant McKinsey & Co.

Speaking Monday at the SAE Vehicle Batteries Summit here this week, Dr. Krieger added that the move to lightweight materials is another major contributor to the skills shift.

He said a recent McKinsey study forecasts a net gain of 154,000 full-time technical jobs in the next decade related to automotive plastics, chemicals, and micro-electronics technology growth. He also expects the global industry to add approximately 420,000 full-time positions in powertrain engineering and development—more than half of them in India and China.

A significant factor is the insourcing of battery-pack and electric traction motor design and engineering by global OEMs, according to Dr. Krieger. “We expect 22% growth in e-motors on a year-to-year basis,” he said. McKinsey expects e-motors to be a part of the propulsion system in approximately 33% of new vehicles by 2020, rising to 66% by 2030.

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