The electric car, better for the climate, less good for the job

The ax fell on Friday, November 26 on the 350 employees of the SAM in Viviez (Aveyron): the commercial court ordered the liquidation and the disappearance of the French industrial landscape of the foundry, which had Renault as its sole customer. The drama of the SAM is only the latest avatar of the great plunge in automotive employment which is decimating struggling SMEs in the sector: foundries, but also bar turning companies or factories producing injectors, such as that of Bosch in Rodez, and more broadly everything that manufactures parts for internal combustion engines in vehicles.

The consensus of specialists estimates that in France, in 2030, around 70% of new vehicles sold should be 100% electrified or hybrid. It is therefore a decline in so-called thermal vehicles and their gradual replacement by electric cars that we are witnessing.

Read also SAM automotive subcontractor: Renault promises “financial support” to foundry employees

This upheaval, ordered by regulators – European, national, local – constitutes a major challenge for French industry. Emitter of zero greenhouse gases when operating, an electric motor contains five times fewer parts (and therefore five times less production) than a combustion engine block, not even counting the transmission and exhaust systems . To put it in a nutshell, the battery-powered vehicle would be good for the climate but bad for the job.

Thus, the Automotive Platform (PFA), the public entity that brings together all the players in the automotive industry in France, estimates that the energy transition threatens 65,000 jobs in production by 2035. And this in the best possible way. cases. If the French industry does not manage to adapt to the great movement of electrification underway, it is rather 100,000 industrial jobs which could disappear, out of approximately 280,000 employees of the automobile in the broad sense – manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, tire specialists. , metallurgists -, according to a count by Nicolas Meilhan, specialist in the economy of the electric car and scientific advisor of France Strategy.

And it is only a question here of the upstream sector. According to the National Automobile Professions Council (CNPA), the employers’ organization which brings together service companies around the car (trade, garages, rental, service stations, etc.), i.e. downstream of the sector , the electrification of the park threatens 50,000 additional jobs. The activities at risk are repair (less parts, therefore less maintenance), technical control or energy distribution, all representing 10% of jobs in the automotive services sector, which has a total of 500,000 in France. . Jobs that cannot be relocated, underlines the CNPA.

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