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Clean Cars Mean Green Jobs

September 10, 2011

During the highly publicized hurricane that recently hit the East Coast (I’ll let you guess her name), I was one of the millions who prepared well for the storm. Among the many tasks I crossed off my list was “filling up on gas.”

It’s one of my life’s great ironies; I loathe the big, bad oil companies, and yet my boyfriend and I purchase it every week. We’re saving up to change that, but it’s besides my point.

During the hysteria leading up the storm, I observed the longest lines I had ever witnessed waiting to “fill up.” And the scene was similar at every gas station I passed; New Yorkers anxiously awaiting their turn to pump dirty oil into their vehicles. It was a supremely depressing sight.

While driving around, running pre-Irene errands, I began daydreaming of a world without gas stations and what that would be like. I thought long and hard about how cool it would be if all Americans began arriving at their destinations without sacrificing their own health or the planet’s. And I thought about how rad it would be if we all drove domestic-made cars — and all the jobs that would be created as a result.

Then I realized that these dreams might not be so far off.

Cleans Cars Will Create Green-Collar Jobs

The electric vehicle (EV) industry is bringing automotive production back home and creating jobs. With the technology for EVs steadily improving, and gas prices volatile, consumers are more interested in EVs than ever before.

Our economy and our citizens will not only benefit from domestic production, just like we did way back when, but also in the production of powertrains, batteries packs, and other components.

Nissan Motor Co. will begin manufacturing motors for its LEAF electric cars at the company’s Decherd, Tenn., powertrain assembly plant in 2013. This means that they’ll be adding a new assembly line to the plant and up to 90 new workers! When ready for production of electric motors in 2013, the plant will yield as many as 150,000 motors per year for LEAFs.

Nissan is also creating green jobs at home by building a battery manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. By the end of next year, Nissan will be locally assembling the cars and producing the batteries that store and release the electricity for the LEAF. Combined, Nissan LEAF and battery production will create up to 1,300 U.S. manufacturing jobs when the plants are operating at full capacity.

The Chevy Volt is another fine example of a hybrid-electric car that’s creating jobs for Americans. In the past year, GM has invested nearly $1 billion in electric vehicles. Their investment of $270 million on an electric motor plant near Baltimore, Md., will create more than 200 green-collar and managerial positions, along with hundreds of assembly-line jobs when the plant starts production.

Mike Robinson, GM’s vice president for environment, energy and safety policy, expects the new plant will be a job engine for many years to come.

Electric Vehicles Are the Wave of the Future

“This is the wave of the future,” says Robinson. “And we expect that the plant is going to produce 40,000 or so electric motors for us by 2013. And we do think this is a long-term bet that makes sense, and we expect market volumes will support that kind production.”

Industry analysts predict there could be as many as 1.5 million electric cars on U.S. roads by 2015. So perhaps my dreams of a world without gas stations and more American jobs will become reality.

Buh-bye, imported oil and outsourced labor. Hello, American jobs.

This post was originally published on ThriftyandGreen.com.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 10, 2011 8:35 AM

    If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. Electric cars are not the solution. At least not yet; who knows what the future will hold. In the meantime, there are two type of “green people”. The watermelons, for whom green is about control of people. And, all the rest who are dreamy idealists.

    Economics, that dismal science, tells us that there are resources that are scarce. There are different political systems for allocating them. Free market capitalism, which is not what is practiced in the USA, has been shown to equalize opportunity while spreading benefits in a complex calculus that makes everyone roughly equally happy / unhappy. When Gooferment leaves people to their own devices, magic happens. Stuff (wealth) gets created. Up out of the masses yearning to be free comes immense benefits. Our “poor” are far better off than the “poor” of the past. Our “poor” are far better off than the “poor” in third world countries.

    While your love affair with electric cars is “cute”, the economics are not there. Despite Gooferment putting its giant “thumb” on the economics, electric cars aren’t solving folks’ problems. Are not “satisfying their needs”. Hence, they spend their limited wealth of the stuff that does. This begs the question that if the Gooferment had stayed out of the problem and there was a true need, maybe other solutions would have been created. But we only have what we have now BECAUSE the Gooferment preempted that development in its conceit that it KNOWS what the right answer it.

    The electric car is an Edsel that no one wants. It’s expense, even with the Gooferment subsidy. It’s limited in range and useful lifespan. It’s new and therefore assumed to be “buggy”. And, had the characteristics of a “lifeboat” (i.e., limited range). And, it’s usefulness presumes and “refiling” infrastructure that isn’t there (i.e., “gas” recharging stations). Over and above that, even if they could be recharged at home, where does that juice come from? Coal fired plants! Also, in an accident or at the end of its useful life, what happens to that battery.

    No, electric cars are an idea who’s time has not come yet. If it ever does. I’m sure a lot of fat old white guy injineers are working on the problem hoping to hit it rich. But till then you’re left with the mean old nasty oil companies who make life good and imho get excoriated for doing so. (They really don’t earn that much money when you look at the investment.) And, those oil companies are really fictions for a lot of employees and pensioners.

    Sorry, TANSTAFL. You want today’s benefits; it comes to you on oil.

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