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Explore Careers in Energy Efficient Vehicles

Transformation of the U.S. transportation sector will secure existing jobs and create new opportunities.

Transformation of the U.S. transportation sector will secure existing jobs and create new opportunities.

Technology Developers

  • Mechanical engineers
  • Electrical engineers
  • Chemical engineers
  • Materials scientists
  • Laboratory technicians

Technology Manufacturers

  • Factory workers
  • Machinists
  • Industrial engineers

Technology Users

  • Bus, truck and other fleet drivers
  • Automotive technicians
  • Fueling infrastructure installers

What's driving job creation?

National efforts to improve our energy security, stabilize energy prices, and curtail climate impacts have created both the need and the opportunity to truly transform our transportation sector.

New fuel economy standards for cars and trucks will require auto manufacturers to produce models that consume far less gasoline and diesel. The federal government has already doubled the size of its hybrid vehicle fleet. The Administration is also seeking ways to meet the aggressive biofuel targets set in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included significant investments in advanced vehicle technologies. $2.4 billion was invested in transportation electrification through competitive grants in 48 different projects: $2 billion for manufacturing advanced batteries and components, $500 million for electric drive components, and $400 million for the purchase of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles for demonstration purposes. In addition, $300 million was invested in a variety of other vehicles technologies through the Clean Cities Alternative Fuel and Advanced Technology Vehicles Pilot Program.

Since then, the Department of Energy has continued to invest in developing and deploying alternative fuels and advanced vehicles. The EV Everywhere Grand Challenge focuses on the U.S. becoming the first nation in the world to produce plug-in electric vehicles that are as affordable for the average American family as today’s gasoline powered vehicles are by 2022.

Where can I find classes or training?

DOE has also established the Graduate Automotive Technology Education (GATE) Centers of Excellence to develop a new generation of engineers and scientists with the necessary knowledge and skills in advanced automotive technologies. Currently, DOE supports GATE programs at eight universities—focusing on hybrid propulsion systems, fuel cells, advanced computation and simulation, energy storage systems, biofuels, and light-weight materials

EcoCAR 3, which DOE also supports, is a four-year engineering competition aimed at promoting advanced vehicle technologies. Through the student advanced technology vehicle competition program, almost 20,000 students have received hands-on engineering experience. Upon graduation, many of them moved on to take jobs in the automotive industry, bringing with them an understanding of (and enthusiasm for) advanced vehicle technologies.

The National Training and Education Resource (NTER), developed by DOE, is a set of Web and learning technologies that offers free online training. In addition, DOE has K-12 lesson plans and activities. Below are NTER courses and K-12 activities that are available in the transportation sector:

  1. Lesson Plan: Cut Pollution & Save Money
  2. Lesson Plan: Transportation Fuels: The Future is Today
  3. Electric Vehicles: Plugging In to Smarter Energy Management

Workforce and Economic Need

Technology development: People in these professions will be the ones developing new and advanced vehicle technologies. These jobs primarily fall within various disciplines of engineering, such as chemical, materials, electrical, and mechanical.

Technology manufacturing: Many jobs are directly involved in the manufacturing processes for new vehicle technologies. These professions include machine operators, other factory workers, and industrial engineers.

Technology use: A broad range of professions are involved in the use of new vehicle technologies. These jobs include bus and other fleet drivers, automotive maintenance technicians, and fueling infrastructure installers.

Future Outlook

The following transportation related energy sectors job estimates are based on the Brookings-Battelle Study.

  • Public Mass Transit has over 350,547 estimated U.S. jobs
  • Battery Technologies has over 16,129 estimated U.S. jobs
  • Electric Vehicle Technologies has over 15,711 estimated U.S. Jobs

For some employees in the vehicle manufacturing industry, the move to new vehicle technologies will have a minor impact on their job duties and require limited new training. Instead of a traditional car or truck, employees will be manufacturing new types of products with different technologies.

Jobs that are involved in technology development and use new technologies will require more training and new skills. For example, engineering schools will need to provide new materials in relevant courses, automotive technicians will need to learn how to repair and maintain completely new technologies, and installers must learn how to put in new types of fueling infrastructure (e.g., biofuel dispensers and electric chargers). Furthermore, bus drivers and other vehicle operators will need to learn how to efficiently and safely operate their new vehicles.