Wednesday, February 9, 2022

The chemicals of cars are changing

Via the New York Times, this chemical-laden passage in an article about the shift in automobile manufacturing to electric vehicles: 
“It’s one of the biggest industrial transformations probably in the history of capitalism,” Scott Keogh, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America, said in an interview. “The investments are massive, and the mission is massive.”

But not everyone will benefit. Makers of mufflers, fuel injection systems and other parts could go out of business, leaving many workers jobless. Nearly three million Americans make, sell and service cars and auto parts, and industry experts say producing electric cars will require fewer workers because the cars have fewer components.

Over time, battery ingredients like lithium, nickel and cobalt could become more sought after than oil. Prices for these materials are already skyrocketing, which could limit sales in the short term by driving up the cost of electric cars.

I can't imagine there are that many chemists involved in the manufacture of cars - it will be interesting to see if the numbers will go up or down?  


  1. Coatings, adhesives, electrical potting, and fiber-reinforced composites are a few examples of chemists working on car raw materials. Of course, it's usually a formulator company making an automotive coating or adhesive and not the actual car company. If you go further up the chain, these formulations include plenty of specialized additives such as wetting and toughening agents. Lots of chemists are indirectly involved in the auto industry.

  2. While I was in grad school, I saw GM was hiring a synthetic organic chemist and maybe a few weeks or months later, I saw an opening for another synthetic organic chemist at another manufacturer (I want to say Ford or Toyota). While I imagine the market is small for chemists at the big manufacturers, I was obviously surprised there was at least one synthetic organic chemist working at two of the larger manufacturers in the world...


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20