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Opportunities and challenges for Illinois automakers in EV transition

Supply chain manufacturers will see opportunities for growth in EV transition, though other automakers are at risk if they cannot change production

Peoria, Ill.—The Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) has released an impacts report detailing changes Illinois automakers will experience as the transportation market shifts toward electric vehicles.

The report, written by the Center for Automotive Research, explains that Illinois automobile supply chain manufacturers will see opportunities for growth in the electric car transition, with new parts production creating new jobs. However, the report also details other automakers are at risk if they cannot change production.

Currently, automaking comprises a large share of the Illinois economy. According to the impacts report, the Illinois automotive industry employs 1,073 businesses and employs 89,059 workers. Because the automotive industry employs so many Illinoisans, the implications of the transition are wide-ranging.

The impact report identifies 10,800 employees (12% of Illinois autoworkers) whose jobs are at “High Risk” of obsoletion in the electrification transition. These workers make products such as engine components, fuel systems, and exhaust pipes. Electric cars do not use any of these parts. The impact report explains that these employees will need new skillsets, and their companies should adapt early.

However, the impacts report is not all bad news. It is also states that 20,300 employees (23% Illinois autoworkers, almost double the amount of “High Risk” employees) work in growing industries. These workers largely work in electronic manufacturing, making things like battery cells and telematic audio systems.

The report also states that most auto part production is in the “Low-to-Moderate Risk” area. These businesses could make small changes to stay competitive. This includes chassis manufacturers, that will need to make heavier car bodies. Other manufactures, like windshield makers, are expected to make next to no changes at all. 58,000 Illinoisans (65% of Illinois autoworkers) are in the Low-to-Moderate risk area.

“Manufacturing is at unprecedented crossroads,” said President David Boulay of IMEC. “There’s tremendous opportunity and challenges to overcome. This report is to help spark the conversation and solutions we need to transition Illinois manufacturers with these changes in automotive manufacturing.”

President Mark Denzler of IMA added, “Illinois’ automotive sector is a key component of our state’s manufacturing sector. That is the single largest driver of our economy. There are many opportunities and challenges in the transition which is why the IMA initiated creation of new manufacturing academies including one focused on electric vehicles and worked with the Governor and lawmakers to enact the REV-EDGE law.  We’re well positioned to be a national leader moving forward.”

The impacts report also details that Illinois is well positioned to become an electrical vehicle manufacturing hub due to major automaker investments and the Inflation Reduction Act.

In publishing this report, IMEC and IMA show commitment to supporting Illinois’ fight against carbon emissions. The report shows which automakers will benefit by the electrification transition, and which automakers will need aid. Nevertheless, IMEC and IMA are confident that Illinois will continue as an automaker stronghold long into the future.

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