According to the agency, suppliers face problems due to the fact that electric motors have far fewer components than internal combustion engines. “In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, there are hundreds of companies that produce for car manufacturers. These companies are now trying to keep orders and jobs,” writes Bloomberg.
The agency also points to the risk that the Czech Republic and Slovakia will fall behind in attracting investors for the construction of factories for the production of batteries for electric cars. He points out that a number of such factories already exist or are under construction in Hungary and Poland. Former Slovakian economy minister Vazil Hudák, who is now vice-chairman of the Bratislava institute GLOBSEC, warned that car companies could locate new production near battery suppliers.
Car companies around the world are now investing heavily in the transition to electric cars. The German concern Volkswagen intends to start the production of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) with an electric drive in Slovakia after 2025, while the Swedish car manufacturer Volvo Cars is building a factory for the production of electric cars near Košice, which should start operations in 2026.
Last year, Volkswagen started production of the latest versions of the VW Passat and Škoda Superb models at its Bratislava factory, but it is possible that these will be the last models with internal combustion engines produced at this plant. “The problem is what will happen to the vast network of suppliers that form the backbone of the industry and keep the economy going,” writes Bloomberg in connection with the transition of production from combustion engine cars to electric cars in Slovakia.
According to a study by the GLOBSEC institute, up to 85,000 jobs could disappear in Slovakia as part of the transition to electric cars. “If we don’t manage this transformation, we will have a problem with employment,” said Alexander Matušek, head of the Slovak Association of the Automotive Industry. Car manufacturers and car parts suppliers in Slovakia employ a total of around 260,000 people. In the Czech Republic, the number of workers in this industry is almost double, writes Bloomberg.
For example, the Slovak town of Dolný Kubín, which in recent years has benefited from the development of the automobile industry in Slovakia, now has concerns about the future. “I know from conversations with suppliers that they are ready to adapt, but they are dependent on how their customers handle the transformation,” said Mayor Ján Prílepok. “We consider it a serious threat,” he added.
For example, the Austrian company Miba operates in the city, which supplies car manufacturers with components for internal combustion engines and transmissions. According to Vladimír Toman, the head of Mibo’s plant there, it is not certain whether the company will be able to keep all its 750 employees. “The market situation is changing dramatically,” he said.