Electric car: 60,000 jobs at risk In Italy by 2035. Here’s where | Milena Gabanelli

We have entered the great era of ecological transition e in many factories conjurations are being made. In the absence of a conversion plan risk being wiped out from the market. We take a ‘Italian excellence: the automotive supply chain. There are not only Stellantis, Ferrari and Lamborghini, but well 2,200 component companies, which supply all the best known car brands, where 161 thousand people work. To give an example: about 30% of German cars made with parts produced in Italy. If Parliament ratifies the Commission’s proposal, car manufacturers in Europe must say goodbye to the internal combustion engine (petrol, diesel) by 2035. And 67% of our exports go to the countries of the Union.

Beyond the push and pull of the times, the electric motor is gaining momentum and 30% less manpower is needed to produce it. It means if in Italy we stand still and watch, within the next fourteen years 60 thousand people in 500 companies they will lose their jobs.


5000 are already risking their jobs

In factories where they produce diesel, the problem already exists. This engine is hardly ever used for hybrid cars and its market share in Europe has increased from 54% to 26% in the last thirteen years. In addition, there are car manufacturers who have decided to burn their competitors on time by switching to electric before the others. Among these is the German Vitesco which is investing in Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic. From 2023 to stop the production of injectors in the Pisa plant: 750 people risk their jobs. At the VM of Cento, in the province of Ferrara, today Stellantis, in 900 produce V6 diesel: from 2023 this engine will no longer exist, but it is not known if and how it will be replaced. In Pratola Serra (Avellino), always Stellantis, 1.600 diesel and the one for Ducato commercial vehicles are produced: i 1700 employees they added to the production of the engines that of the masks, but they are still in cash two weeks a month. At the Bosch in Bari, where the common rail diesel was invented, there are 1,400 places at risk. Another 600 places in the balance at Marelli, today of the Kkr fund, where components for the internal combustion engine are produced. Finally the multinational Dense Japanese has major electric projects with Mazda and Toyota. But not on the San Salvo plant, in the province of Chieti, where alternators and starter motors continue to be produced. There are 1,000 employees: 200 will go home within the year, for the other 800 places there are no certainties.


Who is turning the page

Countries and carmakers are divided on how fast to deal with change. The confindustria of Italy, Germany and France are pressing for longer times. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is moving. In the USA on August 5, Biden signed an executive order: 50% of new cars sold will have to be reduced emissions (electric and plug-in hybrid cars) by 2030. China has not set deadlines for now, but in the last decade it has subsidized the electric car industry with about 100 billion dollars and 300 specialized companies were born. At Cop26 six car manufacturers signed the document that commits them to 100% green registrations from 2040. There are the American Ford and General Motors, the German Daimler Mercedes-Benz, the Chinese BYD, and the British Jaguar Land Rover. While the Swedish Volvo will switch entirely to electric as early as 2030. As for the countries, Canada, Chile, Denmark, India, Poland, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom signed.

At Cop26, six car manufacturers signed the document that commits them to 100% green registrations from 2040.

The transition process will be accelerated as the price gap between electric and internal combustion engine cars shrinks, due to economies of scale. It is estimated that within the next three years, owning and operating an electric car will therefore be less expensive. Biden’s US is preparing to support its supply chain: Congress is launching tax incentives for citizens who buy electric cars produced on US soil. L’European Union on the other hand, it is not able to manage these policies in a coordinated way, because each country goes on its own.


Mise: only one meeting

Germany, where the auto industry is the strongest in Europe, has innovated in the last ten years and now the unions are holding back: according to the research agency Npm, financed by the German government, it risks by 2030 to lose 400,000 jobs. For the big brands in the industry they have a fixed and structured point of reference with governments. It is called Konzertierte Aktion Mobilitt (Concerted Action on Mobility). While at the regional level, the Ministry of Economy organizes dialogues on transformation in the automotive industry. a platform that brings together companies, political decision-makers and representatives of the territories at fixed intervals, to decide the strategies for the future. In Italy, a table on the automotive sector was set up at the Ministry of Economic Development. The meeting to talk about industrial policy was only one, in the month of July. 40 representatives of associations, companies and trade unions in the sector participated, the themes of the challenges were listed, all sold out in a long series of hearings and then goodbye and thanks.


What Italy lacks

Italy will be able to save the sector if it can do three things. The first: to attract investments from new producers of electric cars. The second: to build giga-factories to produce, regenerate, repair and recycle batteries, without totally depending on the Chinese. It means taking into account a public-private collaboration, because building a giga-factory requires an investment of a few billion euros. At the moment there are Stellantis in Termoli, the Swedish Italvolt in Turin, Fincantieri in the province of Forsinone and Faam in Taverola, near Caserta. For we are still with the intentions, the transition times are tight and there is no real industrial plan. The third: prepare tools, shared with the union, to manage the transition from one job to another. It means creating an industry conversion fund, with resources that allow for shorter working hours to spend time updating skills. To do all this you need funds. But, as Mario Draghi told Cop26, the money for the green transition is there. The Pnrr allocates 740 million for the charging station network and approximately 1 billion for the battery supply chain. What is lacking is the ability to coordinate efforts at the national level, so as not to be left behind and waste resources that will become debt tomorrow.


The model that works

Those who manage on their own go ahead: the Emilian motor valley is making a system to attract foreign investments. The entire productive fabric is changing its skin thanks to the push of big brands, such as Ferrari and Lamborghini, on the one hand, and a regional policy that seeks to finalize European funds on reconversion on the other. The Sino-American joint venture Silk Faw will start building its electric supercar factory here next year. The goal is to finish in January 2024 and the first hires have already started. The universities of Emilia and the major car brands have created Muner, the Motorvehicle University of Emilia Romagna. Local entrepreneurs are also on the move. In Soliera, in the province of Modena, a group of investors from Reggio Emilia founded Reinova, an innovative company that tests and approves batteries. By teaming up, our country can catch up, stay on the market and save jobs.

The engine of an electric car
What does Stellantis do?

Even the former Fiat Stellantis should be on the pitch. Over the past fifteen years it has received at least 1.5 billion in government grants, but jobs have steadily reduced them. Last year we gave him a loan of 6 billion guaranteed by the state in exchange for investments to maintain employment in the area. A few months ago he returned them. Should he intend to free himself from the constraints, the state is expected to exercise its negotiating power to ensure that commitments are honored. And without the hat in hand.

November 22, 2021 | 07:38

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