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Preparing for the electric vehicle transition

Adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) continues to gain momentum, driven by perks like reduced vehicle carbon emissions and less reliance on gas as an engine fuel. It might seem obvious, but before EVs hit the road, they have to be manufactured.  

The increased demand for EVs is bringing about a transition in manufacturing that’s reshaping vehicle production. Autoworkers are at the forefront of this transformation and a just transition is underway to ensure they are not left behind.  

Imagine if your job was building traditional cars, and suddenly the whole industry is talking about EVs. That's where the idea of a just transition comes in – making sure everyone gets a fair shot at new work opportunities, including training programs to help workers operate new EV manufacturing technology.  

This new technology is already on its way to auto plants across the country. In 2023, the Department of Energy (DOE) made a hefty $15.5 billion investment to modernize existing auto manufacturing plants and turn them into hubs for EV production. Manufacturers will use this investment to:  

  • Convert existing technology to manufacture EVs.  
  • Grow stateside battery manufacturing to reduce reliance on imports. 
  • Expand production of battery, hydrogen fuel-cell and hybrid vehicles. 

More EVs on the road means a higher demand for electricity to power them. As a result, energy companies are partnering with industry heavyweights such as GM, BMW, Lyft and Ford to create a widespread network of charging stations. This collaboration supports utility, auto and trade workers and aims to make charging EVs as convenient as stopping at a traditional gas station.  

For a smooth transition, industry leaders are applying this same mindset to support training programs and help the current skilled workforce adapt. In our ever-changing workforce, labor unions have had historical success offering this kind of support.  

The move toward electric transportation is gaining momentum, and it’s not only a change of vehicles; it's a transformation of the entire industry. As the DOE injects billions to upgrade auto plants, industry leaders work together to build robust EV infrastructure and support autoworkers in the transition. Learn more about the journey to transportation electrification here.  

Grant Barton is a Communications Partner with a passion for sustainability and eco-friendly city planning. He has a diverse background in engineering, politics and international communications and hopes to apply this experience when writing and breaking down complex topics related to Alliant Energy's Clean Energy Future plans.

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