ZURICH—Doubts over electric vehicle production deadlines may be linked to key skills shortages, according to a recent survey conduced by ABB Robotics and Automotive Manufacturing Solutions (AMS).

In 2023, ABB’s first annual Global Automotive Manufacturing Outlook Survey questioned industry experts as to whether legislative timetables to move to pure EV production were achievable. This year’s survey returned to the subject and showed a drop in the number of respondents who strongly believe the transition can be realized, from 11 percent in 2023 to just 8 percent this year. More than half (53 percent) still believe the targets will never be met, compared to 59 percent the previous year.

According to Joerg Reger, managing director of ABB Robotics’ automotive business sector, the reason for doubt over EV production deadlines may lie in concerns regarding skill shortages. More than half (54 percent) of respondents believe that skills shortages are having a major impact on manufacturing.

“Skills shortages in some very specific areas remain an industry concern,” says Daniel Harrison, an analyst at AMS. “As EV production accelerates, the need to upskill or redeploy large numbers of existing colleagues, as well as attract new talent into the automotive industry, becomes more critical. Electric vehicle manufacturing, in conjunction with the increased software, electrical and advanced electronic content, requires new and different skills. The survey reflects a belief that more needs to be done.”