Getting Started: A Guide For New Electric Vehicle (EV) Industry Professionals
Updated: May 18, 2022
The electric vehicle (EV) industry is booming. Every year, more models of electric cars, SUVs, pickups, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PVEV) are available, and battery technology is extending vehicle range. As battery electric vehicle (BEV) manufacturing soars, automakers are investing billions in advancing energy storage technology and bringing attractive options to the EV market. In addition, concern about climate change and sustainability is increasing, causing individuals, governments, and corporations to seek different ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A federal tax credit is helping make EVs affordable to more Americans. Meanwhile, a robust charging system infrastructure is needed to make driving an EV practical and convenient for more and more people. In addition, as electricity demand increases to power a charging network, generating more renewable energy production is critical.
As the automotive market shifts towards all-electric vehicles, it is creating employment opportunities for job seekers with the right skills and training. So let’s explore how you can get involved in this booming industry and help the clean energy economy grow.
What Jobs Exist In The EV Industry?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are a variety of jobs available in the electric vehicle industry. Scientific research is needed to advance EV technology, including energy storage and vehicle charging capabilities. Chemists work to advance EV battery pack capabilities, and material scientists are necessary to study the properties of various materials in lithium-ion batteries and other types of batteries.
Engineers, drafters, software developers, and industrial designers work to design and develop EVs and create their software systems. Skilled workers, including equipment assemblers, tool operators, and machinists, are needed in manufacturing plants. Also, mechanics with specialized knowledge of EVs are needed to maintain vehicles and corporate fleets.
Finally, there are many job opportunities in creating the infrastructure needed for the widespread use of EVs, such as charging stations for residential and commercial use. Urban planners, electricians, and technicians are needed to plan, install, and maintain the necessary charging equipment.
Learn The Language
When entering a new field, it is critical to know key terms and language used in the industry, so let’s explore some basic terms. Most EVs are compatible with Level I chargers, which use a standard 120-volt outlet. Unfortunately, these chargers are very slow and can take 24 hours for a full charge. Fast charging capabilities are crucial for the industry to grow and appeal to a larger market segment.
Therefore, many residential and commercial charging stations are Level II, which charge vehicles in several hours. These chargers require 240-volt power and usually an electrician to install them.
The fastest charging solutions are Level III chargers, also known as DC Fast Chargers, and they are also the most expensive because they require specialized equipment. Therefore, only a small fraction of public charging stations are Level III, but they are also the fastest and most convenient for roadside charging in gas stations and travel plazas. Tesla Superchargers are Level III but are only compatible with Tesla vehicles.
Bidirectional charging is becoming a hot topic in the EV industry because vehicles with this capability allow drivers to use the energy from the battery to power other loads, including a home or even the utility grid. This is particularly appealing during grid outages or to have energy in areas not covered by the utility grid.
Figure Out Where You Fit
If you are interested in being an EV industry professional, consider your interests and skills. What aspect of EVs fascinates you or match your career vision?
Also, your past work experience and education can help narrow down where you have the most career options. For example, if you are an electrical or chemical engineer, you might be a good fit for a career in EV design and development, possibly with a technology or automotive company or research organization. If you are an electrician, installing EV charging stations might be a good option, possibly through a solar installation company or electrical contractor.
Because business skills are also critical for the industry to flourish, if this interests you, consider a career in EV sales or marketing vehicles for automakers or dealerships. If you are an urban planner, working with governments to create a robust charging infrastructure is critical for widespread EV use.
Unless you are open to relocating, it’s helpful to know what companies and organizations work in the EV industry in your area or what jobs can be done remotely. If possible, network with other EV professionals to gain an inside perspective of industry opportunities and challenges. This might also present opportunities to collaborate with other EV professionals.
In some cases, you may need to create opportunities to find your own niche. For example, if you are a certified electrician and want to start specializing in EV charger installations, perhaps you could start a company or join forces with a solar installation company or electrical contractor. Existing companies with related clean energy services may benefit from expanding their services by installing charger infrastructure, and this might be a simpler option than starting a new business.
There are some certifications that can help advance your career. Most states require certified electricians to install EV equipment, especially if it requires wiring work. Many technical schools and community colleges offer courses to become a certified electrician. In addition, there are some certification programs to further your learning.
ChargePoint offers an online class and certification that covers everything from site assessment to power up and pinpointing. In addition, some states or utility companies may require EV equipment installers to be approved contractors for customers to receive rebates or state tax credits for installing EV chargers. Qualifications for such programs vary widely.
Familiarize Yourself With Incentives
There are various incentives in the United States to encourage the adoption of EVs, including a federal tax credit that, at the time of writing, was up to $7,500 for purchasing new qualified PHEV and EV models. However, the Chevy Bolt, GMC Hummer EV, Tesla Model 3, Model X, and Model Y don’t qualify. Other models qualify for less than a $7,500 tax credit, such as the BMW 330e, Ford Escape PHEV, and Toyota Prius Prime PHEV.
In addition, there are state rebate programs and utility incentives for purchasing or leasing new EVs or installing residential or commercial charging stations. To learn more about specific incentive programs, visit the Department of Energy database.
There are EV charger incentives available through some utility companies in the following states: Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts (for DC fast chargers), Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah. Likewise, many states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, New York, Oregon, and Maine, offer incentives to purchase and sometimes lease EVs.
Knowing and understanding these incentives is critical to identifying opportunities in your area because these programs make EV ownership or charging infrastructure more affordable. However, be aware that incentives can expire or exhaust funding, so staying current is critical.
Also, if you are advising potential customers on EV incentives, make sure you understand them well. Recommend customers speak with a tax expert about how to apply the federal EV tax credit and beware of giving tax advice. Some incentives do not apply to EV leases or used vehicles, or there may be income requirements to take advantage of programs for low-income residents.
Monitor EV Industry Trends
The EV industry is rapidly evolving with changes in governmental policies, technology, automakers’ strategies, and consumer behavior. Now, many large corporations have set zero emissions targets, which often involve transitioning fleets to electric vehicles. In addition to becoming comfortable with industry terminology, having a big-picture perspective on where the industry is heading can help you identify opportunities and avoid potential pitfalls.
Work With A Top-Rated Company
If you are launching a career as an EV professional, collaborating with qualify companies creates new opportunities. GreenLancer EV is an excellent source of information, and if you need to outsource aspects of your EV projects, partner with us. Our industry knowledge and expertise can help you grow your business!