Career Opportunities in Electric Vehicle Industry (Beginners Guide)

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With the growing focus on switching transportation from ICE vehicles to Electric vehicles, there are a lot of job opportunities that the existing workforce, as well as the fresh talent, can capitalize on. Here we discuss the job opportunities the EV industry presents.

Table of Contents

This article explores the following FAQs regarding making a career in the Electric Vehicle industry:

Engineering jobs in the Electric Vehicle Industry

How can engineering students start a career in the EV industry?

How to make a shift from a career associated with ICE vehicles to EVs?

How can I upskill myself to have a successful career in the EV industry?

Engineering Jobs in the Electric Vehicle Industry

What all jobs do the engineers perform in electrical vehicle companies? This section will elaborate on that.

For starters, one should understand that Electric Vehicle Industry is a multi-disciplinary field and requires experts from different streams of engineering. Chemical Engineers will be suited to work on battery chemistry whereas electrical engineers will be good at selecting the best motor for the vehicle. Professionals with cross-sectional expertise in chemical engineering, electronics, embedded software and electrical engineering are set to be highly sought after. This is the reason that Mechatronics Engineering, a multi-disciplinary branch is gaining traction when it comes to hiring fresh graduates for the EV industry.

A quick glance at job postings from various electric vehicle companies shows that they are looking for engineers proficient in a variety of domains for job profiles in EV Safety, Software, Motor Calibration in vehicles, Power Electronics, Mechanical Design etc. 

Here we enlist examples of tasks which can be linked more closely to one stream of engineering than to others.

Field of EngineeringTasks
Chemical EngineeringManufacturing of Lithium Ion cells, Manufacturing/Assembly of Battery Packs, Recycling of Batteries
Computer Science and EngineeringDeveloping algorithms for Battery Management System (BMS), Making IoT Modules for sharing real-time data generated by EV, Using AI to improve the efficiency of BMS
Mechanical EngineeringThermal Systems, Vehicle and Parts Design and Manufacturing
Electronics and Communication  EngineeringDeveloping firmware for Battery Management System, Developing Infotainment system, Manufacturing and installing sensors in the vehicle, Power electronics 
Electrical EngineeringWorking on motors, Quality Control, Testing of Battery Packs, Developing wiring harness for multifold functions in the EV Charging solutions
Mechatronics EngineeringVehicle Design, Robotics for parts assembly, Powertrain component development

On a broader level, different streams of engineering are required to accomplish tasks. e.g. if we talk about the ‘end of life’ management of vehicle batteries – Electrical, chemical and electronics engineers can all play their part in the process.

Also Read: Business Opportunities in the EV domain

How can engineering students start a career in the Electric Vehicle industry

An engineering graduate learns the basic concepts of different streams required to build an electric vehicle through his/her course. This section talks about how students can do projects and gain relevant experience to make their mark in the EV industry. 

A student can achieve the required fit for the industry through hands-on experience of working on an engineering problem related to EVs. Students can do the following to gain hands-on experience and ace the job selection process: 

– Build Projects – A simple project e.g. as building an energy-efficient DC-DC converter for an EV application can prove a candidate’s suitability for the role of an RnD engineer. Making a project requires an overall understanding of the vehicle design and helps students fine-tune their conceptual knowledge. 

College students across the country are building electric vehicles for their project work. For example – IIT KGP students built an EV under the mentorship from faculty, students from Sharda University built their own electric bikes and showcased at AutoExpo 2020.

 Do Internships – Internships are very valuable as they let you work closely with engineers working on LIVE projects in the industry. Students understand how to tackle practical technical problems and also get a taste of corporate culture.

– Research Projects and Teaching Fellowships are equally precious additions to the skill basket of an engineering student.

An engineering graduate can create a multi-skilled profile through learning about other streams of engineering, other than his/her degree course. For example – A mechanical engineer can educate himself/herself on the topic ‘embedded systems’ and work on creating hardware for Battery Management Systems. Depending on your choice of work profile, try to gain knowledge and hands-on experience on relevant concepts.

NoteDon’t forget to take a recommendation letter from your mentor when your internship/project is over. Recommendations on LinkedIn can be really helpful as well.

How to make a shift from a career associated with ICE vehicles to EVs?

This section is for professionals who are already a part of the automotive industry and are looking to make a switch to the budding EV industry.

Engineers who have already been a part of the industry have a useful and mature skillset. These practical skills are valuable as they may not be available in textbooks and can only be learnt through experience. Example of such skills would be an overall understanding of the automotive industry, standard operating procedures of the domain, supply chain and consumer behaviour.

Such skills in the automotive domain will be equally important when it comes to working with electric vehicles. Professionals should highlight these softer skills when they go in for interviews with electric vehicle companies. Professionals who have been in specific roles for many years may need to brush up basic concepts of electrical and electronics engineering before making a switch to EV domain. These concepts can be revised through amazing online courses, see examples below.

How can I skill myself to have a successful career in the EV industry?

There are multiple resources available today that one can use to up-skill or re-skill themselves and build a promising profile for a career in the EV domain.

– Online Courses – Informative and comprehensive courses made by teachers from the leading universities/colleges in the world exist on the internet. Examples – Introduction to Electric Vehicles by NPTEL, Introduction to Battery Management Systems by Coursera, Introduction to Electric Vehicles by Udemy (FREE). 

– Learning Softwares used in Automotive Industry – Software such as ANSYS, Creo, GOM Inspect (FREE) etc. are used by professionals working in the automotive industry. Experience of working on or learning these can give you an edge during company interviews and job selection process. 

– LinkedIn Contacts – Contact people who are already working in the industry through LinkedIn and take guidance from them regarding what skills you should acquire for a successful career in the EV industry.

– Live Training Sessions – EV Training courses are offered by many companies for required skill development e.g. MakerMax and CADD Centre. One popular LIVE training professionals in the industry are undergoing is “Level 3 Live Working on Electric Vehicle HV Systems by TUVSUD”. Several of Ashok Leyland employees underwent this training program and shared their certificates on LinkedIn profiles. OEM professionals working in the EV domain also undergo many programs conducted by NFPA. 

Apart from the jobs mentioned above, there are many other avenues like Management consultancy, Sales, Policy-Making and Skill Development that can give you a rewarding career in the EV industry.

As electric vehicles become more mainstream, the industry is expected to offer scores of career opportunities. If any of the above suggestions sound interesting, you should do some more homework on your own to grow your awareness about the technology and the industry. This will help you make fitting career choices.

Current Scenario

The last few months have seen companies such as Tesla, Ola Electric, Mahindra, TVS Motor make some strategic top level recruitments in keeping with their business plans,say experts.

As Tesla firms up its plans to roll out its first all-electric car in India this year, the Elon Musk-run company has hired top executives in the country which include Chithra Thomas as Head HR, Manuj Khurana as Policy and Business Development head and Nishant Prasad to head Tesla’s supercharging business.

 

Experts maintain that with the EV business at an inflection point and poised to grow exponentially, companies in this space are getting more focussed on the talent eco-system, which is technical and specialised in nature.

Ola Electric is stepping up its efforts to develop an electric car and last week appointed Wayne Burgess, a Jaguar veteran as Head of Vehicle Design, N Balachandar as the new CHRO and YS Kim as global head of sales and distribution. Ola Electric has already seen a 9X growth in hiring in the last 9 months, and it plans to quadruple the strength by the end of this year. It has accelerated hiring in areas such as AI, big data & analytics, app development & IoT.

Our focus is to design, develop and manufacture EVs in India and this will require scouting talent from multi-disciplinary fields. We are consistently working towards upskilling and hiring new talent which will help us develop world-class EV technology in India for the worldRajeshwar Tripathi, CHRO, Mahindra

Mahindra & Mahindra last month appointed Uli Stuhec as VP & head of Global Born Electric Platform post consolidating its EV business into two verticals viz. Last Mile Mobility (LMM) and Electric Vehicle Tech Centre. Mahindra recently appointed Pratap Bose, ex design head at Tata Motors who is expected to play a major role in the EV space.

 

EVs continue to witness an influx of innovation in technology and new business models will help in creating new jobs, say experts. Mahindra’s EV business is poised to increase its hiring by over 7-8% over the next 2-3 years across the two verticals. “Our focus is to design, develop and manufacture EVs in India and this will require scouting talent from multi-disciplinary fields. We are consistently working towards upskilling and hiring new talent which will help us develop world-class EV technology in India for the world”, said Rajeshwar Tripathi, CHRO at Mahindra.

While the electric major , Mahindra has seen a churn in manpower, it has also done several mid level placements in the recent past, say sources.

The push on EVs will lead to an increase in demand for sales and services support which in turn means a 12 -15% increase in employment generation across presales, sales and post-sales across the EV eco-system”, says a recent Teamlease Services report.

TVS Motor too is continually onboarding the best talent in India and abroad as we look to the future particularly in the area of EV and digital,” said a senior official of the company.

Tata Motors, buoyed by the success of its electric vehicle, Nexon is also set to get on to the EV hiring bandwagon. “Being a pioneer in the fast-growing EV space, we understand both its nuances as well as overlaps with ICE vehicles. Where needed, we have brought in external expertise via hiring and collaborations”, mentioned Ravindra Kumar G.P., CHRO, Tata Motors.

Homegrown ride-hailing company Ola is in the process of setting up a state of the art electric vehicles manufacturing plant in Chennai, to manufacture electric scooters. Although Ola uses 5,000 robots in its electric vehicle manufacturing plant, it is going to create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs for the local community.

Apart from the spike in direct employment at manufacturing facilities, the thrust is also creating an impact on the component space. The increase in the domestic production of batteries would mean 15-18% increase in employment for skill sets including Product Design & Development. This would result in jobs for specific functions including Product designing of Battery packs in Lithium-ion , Product designs and drawings of various software, target Products Ready Cells to End product design like battery packs, say experts.

Summary

Electric Vehicles as a product and EV as an industry needs new knowledge and new skills. They represent a paradigm shift in job structure. Some of the new job requirements in the industry can be brought down under the following categories:

Scientific Research

  • Need: To improve the performance of Electric Vehicles especially by improving battery, recharging technology, and materials.
  • Knowledge / Skill Focus: Chemistry, and Material Sciences
  • People on demand:
    • Chemical engineers
    • Materials engineers

Design and Development

  • Need: To design, test, and integrate components such as engines, batteries, generators, and electric motors
  • Knowledge / Skill Focus: Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Software, Industrial Design
  • People on demand:
    • Chemical engineers
    • Electrical engineers
    • Electronics engineers, except computer
    • Industrial engineers
    • Materials engineers
    • Mechanical engineers
    • Mechanical engineering technicians
    • Mechanical drafters
    • Software developers, applications
    • Commercial and industrial designers

Manufacturing

  • Need: To manage specialized manufacturing processes including machine tool operations and assembly.
  • Knowledge / Skill Focus: Machine Design, Industrial Production Design
  • People on demand:
    • Electrical and electronic equipment assemblers
    • Electromechanical equipment assemblers
    • Engine and other machine assemblers
    • Team assemblers
    • Computer-controlled machine tool operators, metal and plastic
    • Machinists
    • Industrial production managers

Maintenance

  • Need: To repair electric vehicles, and install electric vehicle components
  • Knowledge / Skill Focus: Electrical System, Battery Systems
  • People on demand:
    • Mechanics
    • Technicians

Infrastructure

  • Need: To setup and maintain charging stations, lay powerlines, and establishing grid connectivity
  • Knowledge / Skill Focus: Electrical power-line installation and maintenance
  • People on demand:
    • Powerline installers and repairers
    • Electricians
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