As long as we have had automobiles, we have had jobs and careers in the automotive industry. While the majority of these careers haven’t changed, with the rise in popularity of electric vehicles, the need for new professionals has risen.
What are these careers? In this article we will discuss the electric car career fields and what the industry is looking for. We will talk about where you can find or apply for these jobs a well as what is expected for each one.
Careers in Electric Vehicles
Just like with most other technical fields, there are a number of careers to be had in the electric vehicle industry. There will always be a need for the general labor type jobs such as a mechanic. Being certified to work on electrical cars, trucks and motorcycles isn’t as widespread and the demand for them is only going to grow.
Because electrical cars run on different motors and battery types, not just any mechanic can work on them. While there will always be a need for the standard items like tires, glass repair, interior work and heating and air conditioning, there is a whole new breed of mechanics needed for engine and battery work.
Because electric cars are still fairly new, there haven’t been as many needs for a general mechanic. This is changing though as the first generation cars are beginning to end their warranties and new models are coming out with specialized help needed.
Finding a mechanic that can work on an electric car can be difficult and as the need arises more and more, the demand will continue to increase for these specialized wrench turners.
There are other fields though, for those that don’t enjoy working under the hood all day. Technicians, engineers and designers are all growing fields in need of new minds and hands.
Electric Automobile Engineers
The need for electrical car engineers is one of the fastest growing fields in the industry. The need for both mechanical and electrical engineers is always on the rise.
To be considered for these positions you will need (usually) a bachelors degree with a penchant for math, science and physics. To work in the electrical automobile engineers field, you will need to be able to work as part of a large team.
Taking directions and working side by side with scientists, managers and developers will be a big part of the job. This is especially true if you end up working in a research lab or facility. Teamwork, communication and delivering on expectations will be a large factor in your success.
Not only do electrical automobile engineers get to help plan and design the next generation of electric vehicles, but you also get to test the design, find flaws and develop ways to improve on previous designs.
As an example, the engineering team working for Tesla with Elon Musk is currently exploring the possibility to use super-capacitors as a new form of battery. These, if successful, will store energy longer, release power faster and recharge quicker than the current lithium-ion options.
Success in the engineering field with electric automobiles means the chance to have a major breakthrough that could lead to the best thing to happen to electric vehicles.
Electric Vehicle Technicians
As mentioned earlier, mechanics for electric and hybrid cars is another growing field and will continue to rise as the demand for electric cars increases. Technicians can also easily enter the field with little postsecondary schooling.
While degrees are always encouraged, electric vehicle technicians can get in the door with little more than an associates degree. As long as their mechanical field specialized in electric or hybrid mechanics, finding a job shouldn’t be too difficult.
As with any other fast-paced, skilled labor job, you will need to be able to work as part of a team and will need to have good customer service skills. You will work directly with consumers instead of industry insiders. Being able to talk to people and understand their issues will go a long way in helping you not only rise in the field but maintain relationships to ensure return customers.
You will also need to be able to diagnose, repair and adjust all aspects of electric and hybrid vehicles. Part of this will be road testing, so a valid license with the correct endorsements is also vital. If you plan to work on electric or hybrid motorcycles, for example, you will need to be licensed to drive them.
To get into this field, you first need to have the education and training, again, with a specialization in electric and hybrid mechanics. You can also do an internship where you work hands-on to acquire the needed skills and get certified.
Once you have completed training, you can find work in mechanic garages, dealerships or even directly with manufacturers. Once you have some hands-on experience to go along with the education, you can also seek out getting certified through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. This certificate, known as ASE, has several different classes, including general, engine and electrical programs.
Once you successfully meet the requirements and pass the exam, you will be ASE certified which only increases your chances of employment, pay raises and value in the field.
Industrial designers have an interesting job and the electric vehicle industry relies heavily on designers to work with scientists and engineers to develop new ideas and prototypes for the future of the industry.
Education is vital to gain entry into the design industry. While a bachelors degree will get you well placed, a masters degree will get you noticed. The more education you have as an industrial designer the further you can go in the field.
Unlike a technician, you will work in an office coming up with the next big thing in the electric automobile industry. As with every other aspect, you will need to be able to work as part of a very large team. You will be required to have communication skills, the ability to take rejection, critiques and think for yourself.
The industry is vital to the future of electric and hybrid cars and is responsible for designing the usability, aesthetics and even the consumer usability of products and features. One of the amazing things about this career is that it is ever-changing. Even when working on the same project for a long period of time you don’t really do the same thing.
One week you may be designing a new radio for the electric cars and the next week working on a design that will allow for a larger battery placement without sacrificing leg room in the interior. Every aspect of the vehicles, from conception to production start and end with the industrial designers.
Aside from the education and knowledge of electric cars, you will need to maintain a vast array of skills. From communication skills to drawing and aesthetics. You will need to be able to draw well, use computer-aided design software, be adept at public speaking and even have a sense of color, proportion and an understanding of aerodynamics and physics.
While the field is highly technical and demanding, the rewards are bountiful as well. If you rise in the field, you will be able to see your designs come to life. Who knows, you may even be the one that designs the electric car that replaces all gas-powered models on the market today.
In some cases, you will be working for yourself. You can hire clients to work for and if you have a proven track record, this can work to your advantage. The options truly are limitless if you put in the time and effort.
The electric automobile industry has different careers at every level. From concept and visualization to repairs and maintenance of the final product years later. Every part is important to keep development of electric vehicles going and to keep them safely on the road.
Electric automobile engineers work as a team with scientists and developers using their skills in math and science to find work-around options for issues, concerns and problems with designs. Whether in a lab or on the production floor, the engineer’s job is to test designs for flaws and usability fully.
Electric vehicle technicians are in demand to keep the electric cars on the road. Knowledge of the inner workings from interior consoles to the motor components is crucial. Hands on knowledge and certification are key to growing in the field and keeping the electric cars of today on the road while preparing to work on the ones of tomorrow.
As an industrial designer, you would be responsible for every concept and plan from initial design to final product. Working with a very large team as a staff member or an outside consultant, your input, designs and ideas mold the next generation of electric vehicles.