$154B invested, 166K jobs planned in US as EV rollout intensifies

New data shows the massive impact the electric vehicle buildout is already making on manufacturing and infrastructure spending in America — so far a big win for the Biden administration.

Catalyzed by legislation like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), data from the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation — a progressive nonprofit organization that promotes clean energy investment and solutions to environmental issues — found that EV investment in factories and battery facilities totaled $154 billion since 2010, across 319 facilities. That will add up to 188,000 new jobs when all spending is complete.

The vast majority of this spending came after 2021, when the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act was signed, and in 2022 and 2023 following passage of the IRA. Of the $154 billion of spending announced, $124 billion has come since the start of 2021.

“The EV transition is impacting every aspect of the economy, including the manufacturing of EVs and the EV supply chain,” Tom Taylor, Atlas Public Policy senior policy analyst, said in a statement. Atlas Public Policy co-sponsored the data initiative, dubbed the EV Jobs Hub, with the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation. “The [data] seeks to cut through the noise from large announcements and organize it in a more digestible way,” Taylor said.

Drilling deeper into the data, the organization finds that South Korean electronics and battery giant LG plans to spend the most here in the US ($17.2B), followed by Tesla (TSLA) ($15.7B), GM (GM) ($15.5B), Ford (F) ($11.9B), and SK Innovation ($10.3B), another South Korean company focused on batteries. In terms of industry, battery manufacturing counts for 65% of all spending, the study finds.

The data isn’t all rosy, however, as on the labor front the companies that spend the most don’t always hire the most. As seen in EV battery and powertrain manufacturing, fewer workers are needed to do the job. This has led to deep concern on the part of the United Auto Workers (UAW) — currently negotiating with the Big Three (Ford, GM, and Stellantis) on a new labor deal — with job protection in the form of higher wages and ending of tiered employment on the top of the union’s wish list as the EV transition rolls out across North America.

“The UAW supports and is ready for the transition to a clean auto industry. But the EV transition must be a just transition that ensures auto workers have a place in the new economy,” UAW president Shawn Fain said in a statement in late August.

Of the companies hiring the most in the EV space since 2010, Tesla leads the pack with 28,500 announced hires, followed by Ford (13,800), Rivian (RIVN) (13,700), LG (11,300), and Hyundai (11,100). Only Ford and LG (at joint GM/LG Ultium battery plants) use unionized labor.

Indeed, of the facilities built since 2010, only 25% are represented by unionized labor, which is a concern for the White House and Democratic legislators.

The stakes couldn’t be higher for the automakers as well as politicians looking to tout the EV buildout. GM’s head of manufacturing said in a video statement on Tuesday that UAW demands would threaten the automaker’s “manufacturing momentum.” It would also threaten one of the bigger manufacturing wins the US has seen in the last 50 years.

Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.

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