Daimler Truck says the transition to EVs will cost jobs

All around the world, governments are pressing automakers to transition from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric cars and trucks that use battery power. While the governments say displaced workers can simply learn to do other jobs, it's not always that easy. Daimler Truck recently announced that moving from traditional gas and diesel trucks to zero-emission fuel-cell trucks will cost about half of the jobs at truck engine plants in Europe over the next 15 years.

Daimler Truck CEO Martin Daum is urging policymakers to prepare for the huge amount of displaced workers now. The move towards zero-emissions vehicles, particularly trucks, is part of the sustainability targets that automakers must meet. However, fuel cells have fewer moving parts and require less labor to build than combustion engines.

Daum says that we have to realize that about 50 percent of the jobs will go away because fuel-cell and battery are far less complex than a diesel engine and transmission today. The executive says the good news is there is about 15 years to prepare before huge amounts of workers are impacted. Daimler Truck is the world's largest truck maker and has stated that it is "all-in" on electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The truckmaker says that zero-emission vehicles will make up 60 percent of its sales by 2030 and 100 percent of its sales by 2039. Daum has also said that building a hydrogen fueling infrastructure is critical to get fleet operators to purchase fuel-cell trucks and help Europe meet climate goals. The executive went so far as to say if it had the trucks today that will be available in 2025 and beyond, they wouldn't sell because there is no hydrogen fueling network. The lack of hydrogen and electric charging networks is often pointed to as a big reason more consumers aren't transitioning to electric vehicles today.