Electric Vehicle being charged using renewable energy infrastructure in the UK

Rise of Electric Vehicle Jobs

Transport Decarbonisation and carbon-neutral mobility have a huge role to play in the economy reaching net zero, therefore the number of Electric Vehicle Jobs and Hydrogen Transport Jobs is drastically increasing in the UK and around the world.

Electric Vehicles have been a focus area in recent years but we are yet to see whether the EV industry will become the main mode of transport in the years to come. With innovative new technology, the electric vehicle industry has expanded dramatically. As a result, electric vehicles have improved, the infrastructure has become more sophisticated, with charging capabilities improving and vehicles costs decreasing. With government policies looking to eradicate petrol and diesel vehicles the future is looking positive for the electric vehicle industry. The interest in electric vehicles worldwide has increased dramatically over recent years. There are now over 100,000 plug-in electric vehicles on our roads, an increase from 3,500 in 2013. The change in public attitude towards renewable energy and more specifically electric vehicles, as well as improvements in charging facilities has led to a wider choice of electric vehicles and a rise in electric vehicle jobs worldwide.

During 2016, the total number of electrical cars globally extended past the 2 million mark, driven by falling prices and new manufacturing models. Historically the figures have grown rapidly with only hundreds of vehicles back in 2005, to 1 million in 2015 and over 2 million in the last year.

Growth in the electric vehicle market has been seen worldwide with China leading the way in manufacturing numbers. In some European countries, rates of growth have been so fast that electric cars are now taking significant market share from both petrol and diesel cars. For example, in Norway, nearly 35% of new cars sold are electric, which is the highest proportion of electric vehicles to traditional cars in the world. This has led to a further rise in opportunities and electric vehicle jobs particularly within China and parts of Europe.

Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are crucial in the transition to a clean, low-carbon energy system.  There are many obvious attractions. Yet a mass roll-out is some way off.  There are very few FCEVs available in the global market, and sales to date have been modest.  High costs, efficiency issues, and the limited number of refuelling stations have all constrained their spread.

Japan is at the forefront: its government has invested in developing a hydrogen fuel infrastructure and incentivizing consumers to buy FCEVs.  By 2020, the country aims to have 160 hydrogen refuelling stations.  This expansion is part of a much wider vision for Japan’s hydrogen economy.  Toyota has made over 8000 of its fuel cell-related patents available for licence royalty-free until 2030.

The EU selected fuel cell technology as one of Europe’s six Important Projects of Common Interest. The ZEFER project, which will run until September 2022, will deploy 180 FCEVs in Paris, London, and Brussels to show the business case for them.  Hydrogen Mobility Europe (H2ME) is a collaborative project that aims to create access to the first pan-European network of hydrogen refuelling stations, and the UK Transport Decarbonisation plan has outlined how the economy will transition to FCEVs in commercial and residential use.

​Recruitment and future jobs in Electric and Hydrogen transport segments

​Zero Emissions transport is growing at the Civilian and Commercial level globally. We are seeing a huge uptick in Green Mobility recruitment amongst Equipment Manufacturers (Car and Electric Bus / Freight Manufacturers) who are pivoting their entire organisations away from ICE and towards a zero emissions future. In addition, we are engaging with Utilities, O&G Majors and other conglomerates looking to accelerate transport decarbonisation through innovative partnerships and new solutions aiming to tackle Green Hydrogen Generation, Electric Vehicle Infrastructure investment as well as development and financing of end-to-end zero emissions vehicle offerings.

Whilst the nature of E-mobility and Hydrogen transport jobs overlap with existing skill-sets, we are also seeing the emergence of different actors recruiting in this market. For example, we are seeing Institutional investors hiring talent from Public Transport Operators, Industry bodies hiring Product management and strategy experience from equipment manufactures and major corporates hiring policy experts from consultancies.

Transport decarbonisation has the potential to impact Aviation, Maritime, Trains, Buses, Passenger Cars, Material Handling Vehicles and Freight services. As a result, interesting zero-emissions jobs within organisations that previously would not have featured are becoming common.

You can follow our jobs page for the latest E-mobility positions that we’re hiring.

How do Electric Vehicles work?

​There are a range of popular technology available within the Electric Vehicle industry. Plug-in electric hybrid vehicles are a common with other range extender electric vehicles (REEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEV’s). 

Battery electric vehicles

Battery electric vehicles use a form of stored electricity  from a battery system to power an electric motor and rotate the wheels. When the power is depleted, the batteries are recharged via grid electricity from a specific charging unit.  The electric vehicle is recharged by plugging the vehicle into a charging facility or station.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles

A similar technology is used with hybrid vehicles, alongside a petrol or diesel engine that connects to turn the wheels when the battery is used. This energy will power the car and the additional batteries provide additional power until depleted or additional power when accelerating the car. The batteries are capable of recharging when the car is decelerating or when plugged in.  

Range Extender Electric Vehicle

Ranger Extender Electric Vehicles differ slightly in that a petrol or diesel engine will only activate when the battery is depleted and instead of providing energy directly to the wheels it recharges the battery, moving the car forward. The engine is designed to be used at intermittent periods for when the battery is not capable of covering and therefore supports some challenges that occur with the range limitations of battery electric vehicles. 

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

Fuel cell vehicles use hydrogen gas to power an electric motor. Unlike conventional vehicles which run on gasoline or diesel, fuel cell cars and trucks combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, which runs a motor. Since they’re powered entirely by electricity, fuel cell vehicles are electric vehicles (“EVs”)—but unlike other EVs, their range and refuelling processes are comparable to conventional cars and trucks.

Investment into electric vehicles, infrastructure and new electric vehicles jobs

​Further investment into electric vehicles and supporting infrastructure have resulted in overall decreasing costs, longer battery ranges and an increasing number of charging points to satisfy the growing demand. Globally, the IEA states there are currently 2.3 million charging points, with the majority being public charging points which suggest most owners are charging at their property.

However, investment into charging points and new infrastructure are increasing worldwide. Recently within the UK, London Mayor, Sadiq Khan announced a further £4.5 million investment into 1,500 new charging points across the city, effectively doubling the number of points available over 2018. With the rise in infrastructure and available models, industry experts forecast a rise in the availability of electric vehicles jobs worldwide.

In wider Europe, ChargePoint, the largest operator of electric vehicle charging announced it would buy General Electric’s EV charging network stations with a further $43 million investment from Siemens to improve the EV infrastructure across Europe. Further policy changes have also encouraged further development within Europe. BMW, Volkswagen, Ford and Daimler recently agreed to develop 400 rapid charging points across European roads by 2020, supporting the Combing Charging System (CCS) standard. ChargePoint consists of more than 36,000 charging spots with infrastructure in place within the UK, Europe and multiple cities within the USA. Last year ChargePoint developed a series of charging corridors from Boston to Washington, DC and from Portland to San Diego. 

Buying an Electric Vehicle

Due to the Plug-in Car Grant being guaranteed until 2018, the future for the electric vehicle market is looking promising. Buying an electric car within the UK is now becoming a more realistic option. There are however three main factors that should be considered when purchasing an electric vehicle.

  1. Access: If buying an electric vehicle you must consider the fact that you will require access to off street parking, a driveway, or access to a garage to recharge your vehicle. Data suggest that approximately 80% of UK car owners do have access to one of these options. Government funding can provide householders with the option to apply for public on street charge point nearby to their household. Funding and installation arrangements can be arranged via contacting local authority.

  2. Mileage: Your daily mileage should be less than 100 miles and generally be driven on commonly driven routes. Frequent and commuting trips are well suited to electric vehicles as they are usually relatively short and the driver is aware of the journey i.e. distance, route, parking and overall road conditions.

  3. Budget: The buyer will need to be able to afford a new/relatively new car. At present there are fewer electric vehicles available on the used car market. Electric Vehicles are relatively expensive in comparison to the more conventional options, which ultimately reduces the options available to interested parties.

  4. Buying a hydrogen vehicle still appears to be difficult for day-to-day residential use. Currently, hydrogen is difficult to find, with just a handful of filling stations open at the time of writing. The UK government has planned more station and has created a £23 million fund to boost the take-up of hydrogen vehicles and improve the infrastructure that supports them, so it might not necessarily always be a problem. To find more information on buying a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle or if there is a refuelling station near you, visit NextGreenCar.

EV Charging Infrastructure

The UK is experiencing a rising number of electric vehicles on its roads. Since 2012, the overall stock of electric vehicles has effectively doubled year on year. The Government is planning to ensure the EV market remains a top priority, introducing the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill to enforce requirements for the provision of new electrical charging infrastructure. In last years budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer agreed over £500m of funding into new charging points and further grants for plug-in hybrid vehicles.

A recent study by PWC, however, identifies a series of potential challenges that could hinder the development of the electric vehicle market across the UK. The report emphasises the requirement for a strategic road map, supported by both Government and industry to ensure a framework is in place to allocate sufficient charging infrastructure. If the UK wishes to be a leader in the EV market and make this transition towards a low carbon economy, a clear roadmap will be essential.