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?
1. 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 Engineering||Tasks|
|Chemical Engineering||Manufacturing of Lithium Ion cells, Manufacturing/Assembly of Battery Packs, Recycling of Batteries|
|Computer Science and Engineering||Developing 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 Engineering||Thermal Systems, Vehicle and Parts Design and Manufacturing|
|Electronics and Communication Engineering||Developing firmware for Battery Management System, Developing Infotainment system, Manufacturing and installing sensors in the vehicle, Power electronics|
|Electrical Engineering||Working on motors, Quality Control, Testing of Battery Packs, Developing wiring harness for multifold functions in the EV Charging solutions|
|Mechatronics Engineering||Vehicle 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.
2. 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.
Note: Don’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.
3. 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.
4. 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.