Electric Vehicle Charging

What the accelerated transition to electrified transportation means for the American workforce

By: John DeBoer, Head of Siemens eMobility in North America

Recently, Ceres published its Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Demand Aggregation Report, which surveyed members of its Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance (CEVA), including Siemens, on its ZEV procurement plans. Most notably, within the next five years, CEVA members alone plan to acquire and deploy more than 375,000 new ZEV models on U.S. roads. This shows a fundamental shift in the EV market. It’s no longer a question of if we’re transitioning to an EV future; it’s happening, and we know it.

 

The EV movement is significant not only for reducing carbon emissions and meeting our sustainability goals, but it also represents an exciting opportunity for new careers.  With the ambitious goals of the federal government toward electrified transportation, including a historic $7.5 billion investment plan to construct electric vehicle stations, we’re seeing the traditional skilled trade jobs required to build and assemble them experience unprecedented growth.

 

At Siemens, we are always seeking to hire skilled trade professionals. In fact, these roles account for 32 percent of our total hiring demand in the U.S. But now, with the transition to electrified transportation, we’re also experiencing the dawn of new job opportunities that bring a variety of skillsets and competencies together.

At Siemens, we are always seeking to hire skilled trade professionals. In fact, these roles account for 32 percent of our total hiring demand in the U.S. But now, with the transition to electrified transportation, we’re also experiencing the dawn of new job opportunities that bring a variety of skillsets and competencies together.

In many cases, what’s needed to support the real-time supply of electricity to vehicles is a rapid-responding team that’s capable of dealing with automation, working with vehicles, and integrating these technologies with buildings. While each component behind the scenes have existed in silos, it’s the blend together that is new for the EV space—and it’s a critical one.

 

For example, if you look at an EV charger at a depot, it is an IoT-connected asset in a harsh outdoor environment that needs to work consistently. These are brand new technologies that must support hundreds of vehicles and work with different software providers, all while communicating with the power grid. In other words, the physical charging ports are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the charging infrastructure and the kind of support it needs at one location. If we consider the hundreds of thousands of charging stations set to be built and deployed across the country, the workforce demand multiplies exponentially.

 

While much can be done through technology and automation, we need people – people to service it, maintain it, and renew it. And with Ceres’ findings that 51 percent of CEVA members’ EV charging is or will be done at a fleet depot, 30 percent at employees’ homes, and 20 percent on-route or while traveling, it’s clear we’ll need workers not just manufacturing, installing, and servicing chargers at the depots, but also those charging stations along the way and in residential spaces.

 

To support and empower the new EV workforce, Siemens is committed to training in these new blended competencies needed to be successful in the industry.

 

A part of that commitment is the Siemens eMobility Experience, which we recently launched to develop skills around digitalization and automation with a blend of traditional operational technologies. In the program, participants go through a multi-year training where they get to see different parts of the industry and serve in different roles from operational to technical.

 

We’re also working very closely with community colleges as they modernize their curriculums and prepare students for the future of electrified transport. One that’s right around the corner from our eMobility manufacturing hub in Wendell, North Carolina, is Wake Tech Community College. In partnership with Wake Tech, we’ve launched an apprenticeship program where students go to school part-time and come to our plant for hands-on training with the opportunity to be hired onto our team upon completing the program. Both programs serve as a layered approach to re-education and training for all different stages and career levels in an organization.

 

There's a significant need to develop the skills that are associated with the EV movement right now, as it’s only going to accelerate in the coming years. We’re encouraged by the results of Ceres’ survey and look forward to continued collaboration with our fellow CEVA members on our journeys together toward electrified transportation.

Published: January 25, 2022