If auto manufacturing were a country, it would be the sixth largest economy in the world, according to International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. Global sales of passenger cars hit the mark with more than 78 million vehicles sold in 2017, and this level of output is equivalent to a gross revenue of almost €2 trillion, slightly less than entire GDP of Great Britain.
Worldwide passenger car industry directly employs more than 9 million highly skilled workers. Actually, there are four times as many workers involved, if you count those who are participating indirectly.
Even Shell is investing in a startup with the goal to make ‘Electric Cars for Everyone’ with a new charging technology. And that is a sign of things to come as market braces itself for the “flood” of electric cars that are affecting their business
So, how fast can this massive industry change and are all those jobs gonna be obsolete in no time?
Detail of the Rimac Automobili assembly line. You can see the whole process with your own eyes, but 99 percent of the factory is of limits for cameras
It's somewhat hard to be precise with the expectations, but there is a way to take a peek into the future (we’ll get to that).
But, to find out the answer if the automotive industry will radically change and leave people jobless, let’s go back in time, for just one century. You know, the time the horse was the prime mover of humans.
Are petrol cars going in history like horses?
At “peak horse” in the United States of America there were around 20 million horses, and not everyone had the chance to own one. In fact, the majority of people seeking transport services in those times had never owned, leased, financed or rented a horse. And that was back then, with a human population of just over 100 million. Today there are 325+ million humans in the United States, driving around 270+ million cars. Each year, they dump and buy 17 million of the new ones.
The average vehicle's lifespan is 11.5 years, and if people started replacing them with electric vehicles it would take only 16 years to replace them all naturally. The comparable ratios are true for Europe.
Rimac hit the spotlight with an electric conversion of old 1984 BMW 323i using parts bought off the web. A few years went by and his Concept_One broke a few electric car speed records
So, no wonder that people around Europe whose jobs are related to the current petrol and diesel engine based car manufacturing might be worried. We are talking about 2,5 million people working in the construction of motor vehicles in the European Union.
Regardless if you are an assembly worker or general manager of the factory producing current market successful gasoline-powered automobiles, you ask yourself if you are gonna hold your job for much longer.
How do they design and produce hypercars that routinely leave established brands like Porsche, Ferrari, Koenigsegg or Bugatti in the dust? You can see for yourself now
The things look serious. Even Shell, the major British–Dutch multinational oil and gas company, made some curious moves recently, faced with an electric future. They are investing in a startup with the goal to make ‘Electric Cars for Everyone’ with a new charging technology. And that is a sign of things to come as market braces itself for the “flood” of electric cars that are affecting their business.
A chance to see how the future looks like
The car industry is going electric and if you need to see the prime example, look no further than the Rimac. A new company from Croatia has a name you probably can’t even pronounce correctly but produces hypercars that routinely leave established supercars like Porsche, Ferrari, Koenigsegg or Bugatti in the dust.
Mate Rimac's, young founder of the company, started his career as an inventor designing a glove to replace your keyboard and mouse when he was in high school. He continued inventing stuff, but he hit the spotlight with an electric conversion of old 1984 BMW 323i using parts bought off the web. A few years went by and Rimac broke a few electric speed records.
Concept_One debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and put Rimac Automobili on the map
The world started to take notice when his first car, named Concept_One, debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Few years forward and Rimac has 400 engineers in his plant in Sveta Nedelja and produces key components for Aston Martin's Valkyrie, Koenigsegg Regera and various Jaguar cars. Rimac manufactures batteries, control units and various other non-disclosed components for a number of clients. Even Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's wedding car, the electrified Jaguar E-Type, used Rimac's powertrain.
Anyone involved in the automotive industry can now see how their electric nemesis operates - they just aren’t allowed to take photos of the complex production process. A small price to pay...
Porsche took notice and bought a share in the company after they created a total sensation unveiling C_Two model at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. Featuring gull-wing doors, carbon fibre body and various power upgrades, the C_Two produces a total of 1914 hp with a torque of 2300 Nm. It weighs 1950 kg, accelerates from 0 to 97 km/h in just 1.85 seconds and reaches the top speed of 415 km/h.
Only 150 of these hypercars will be built on custom order, and the whole process is transparent - Mate Rimac opened up his factory of the future for people who wish to see how the future looks like.
Building a new electric car factory by 2021.
Anyone involved in the automotive industry can now see how his electric nemesis operates - you just aren’t allowed to take photos of the complex production process. A small price to pay, considering you can get full access to the restricted software development & design departments and the custom assembly line with hand-built cars in different stages of the production. You’ll move on to see the electronic component production and the paint shop.
And while the building complex used by the company since 2011 is continuously expanding to accommodate its now 400-strong team, Mate Rimac is already in the planning phases of the new factory he wants to have up-and-running by 2021.
Porsche took notice and bought a share in the company after Rimac created a total sensation unveiling C_Two model at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show
So is Rimac and his not so fast electric powered siblings ruin the jobs of the millions of people working in the oil-based car industry?
Not even close. As fossil fuel cars replaced horses as prime movers of humans, so will the jobs and economy change to the future - and the future is the electric powered cars.
The only people who shouldn’t visit are those who still believe that introduction of ‘the horseless carriage” was a step backwards
Anyone who works in contemporary automobile plants can and should take a peek in the future now that Rimac opened the door of his facility. The only people who shouldn’t visit are those who still believe that introduction of ‘the horseless carriage” was a step backwards from a horse and carriage from 100 years ago. If you are one of those, there’s nothing for you to see in Sveta Nedelja.
For the rest of the people who are curious how will the production switch from petrol to electricity, Rimac is the place to see.
So don’t worry - the cars will continue to be our “freedom machines,” a means of both transportation and personal expression regardless of if they are electric or fossil fuel powered. It’s just the design and production processes that are changing.
For the better, of course.