The automotive industry is on the brink of a historic transformation with the transition from internal combustion engines (ICE) to electric vehicles (EVs). This shift, according to Alan Amici, president and CEO of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), is the most significant structural change in the industry’s 110-year history.
Amici, a seasoned industry veteran with over 35 years of experience, emphasized the wide-ranging impact of this transition. It affects various aspects of the industry, from research and development to production, technology, supply chains, raw materials, assembly plants, and engineering organizations. The change is all-encompassing and far-reaching.
CAR has been monitoring investments made by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in North America, revealing a staggering $92 billion in announced investments in the past two years. Significantly, 87% of these investments have been in EVs and EV battery plants. These long-term capital investments over the next 10-15 years demonstrate that the move towards EVs is not a passing trend but a permanent shift.
Based on careful analysis and data, CAR estimates that nearly 40% of all automobiles will be electric by 2030. This projection showcases the industry’s commitment and determination to embrace the electric future.
Furthermore, Amici discussed the United Auto Workers (UAW) union’s strategy in light of this transition. The UAW aims to expand its influence and organize non-union plants, particularly in the southeastern US where there is a significant non-union labor force. The gains secured through UAW contracts serve as an incentive for these workers to consider unionization.
As the automotive industry undergoes major changes, steel plays a vital role in the EV transition. Amici highlighted two key challenges that steel can help address. Firstly, EVs are generally heavier than ICE vehicles, emphasizing the need for lightweighting. High-strength and ultrahigh-strength steels are essential in reducing the weight of vehicles. Additionally, steel can contribute to safety by being used in battery enclosures, mitigating any heat-related incidents or “thermal events.”
The future of the automotive industry is electric, and the steel industry is poised to make crucial contributions. As the transition accelerates, stakeholders across the sector must adapt to thrive in this new era.
Q: What is the most significant structural change in the auto industry’s history, according to Alan Amici?
A: The transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles.
Q: What percentage of automobiles does CAR estimate will be electric by 2030?
A: Approximately 40%.
Q: What role does steel play in the EV transition?
A: Steel can help address the challenges of lightweighting and safety in electric vehicles.
Q: What is the United Auto Workers (UAW) union’s strategy concerning non-union plants?
A: The UAW aims to organize non-union plants, particularly in the southeastern US.
Q: How much have OEMs invested in EVs and EV battery plants in the last two years?
A: $92 billion.