Editor’s note: At Dispatches, our mission is all about the global mobility of talent. This post about new electric car companies and the latest careers is part of our Tech Tuesday series.)
There have been few technological revolutions that have been adopted into real life as quickly as electric cars. Electric vehicles, or EVs, used to be a novelty … expensive, weird looking and impractical because the charging infrastructure wasn’t there, yet. Then, Tesla went from a startup to a billion-dollar company in six years and now makes the best-selling car in Europe. Where we live in the Netherlands, Teslas are among the most common cars, but they have more and more company from all-electrics from Volkswagen and Renault as consumers get serious about climate change and Green technology.
That kind of success and a desire to break the petroleum addiction have inspired traditional carmakers such as Volkswagen, Volvo and Hyundai to create new electric-only brands. In the United States, well capitalized startups are popping up. So, it seems like every day we’re pulling up next to cars we’ve never seen before and asking each other, “What the heck is that?“
In this revolution, there are increasing opportunities for highly skilled internationals who speak English because new electric car companies starting from scratch need talent now to scale up. However, as we perused the career opportunities, we realize electric cars are far more than just electric motors replacing internal combustion engines. EVERYTHING about these cars is different from software to suspension to customer support.
Almost every example has operations in Europe, and they’re all recruiting engineering talent, managers, marketers and – since this is the car business – sales.
Lucid, based in Newark, California on the southern end of Silicon Valley, claims to have the fastest charging cars with the longest range. These are luxury cars, starting at about $77,400 or about 68,500 euros and going to $169,000, or about 150,000 euros. Oh, and the top-end model has 1,100 horsepower. For reference, a garden-variety Porsche 911 has about 400 horsepower.
MotorTrend magazine declared it the car of the year. CEO Peter Rawlinson engineered the Model S, the sedan that established Tesla as a serious carmaker, and the New York Times has a post about how he plans to do that for Lucid.
Lucid has operations in Amsterdam and Munich.
In Munich, as you might guess, there are several jobs related to engineering and design including:
• Senior Design Engineer – Interior. The job description includes creating “industry-leading Interior Components or Systems, with groundbreaking luxury, craftsmanship, performance, safety, ergonomics, and functionality.” Like we said, these companies are literally starting from scratch.
In Amsterdam, most of the jobs are related to retail, recruitment, HR, finance, marketing and corporate facilities.
This position in Amsterdam seems really cool:
• Sr. Project Analyst, Financial Services – Global Expansion and Market Readiness is the person driving expansion across Europe. Seems like a great job to have at the moment. This is a job that requires you to be the Swiss Army Knife of execs with management and analytical skills. To qualify, you need at least seven years in the automotive industry, with knowledge of European auto markets. And we’d imagine this would be a position Lucid will fill with someone from Daimler or one of the big boys.
Now for something completely different. An electric pickup truck with an American macho, yet Green, attitude is headed for Europe, probably sooner rather than later. Rivian is a startup (sort of) based in Irvine, California near LA, with manufacturing in Illinois and other places and software development in Seattle. It’s backed by Amazon and Ford but probably won’t enter the Europe market until 2022, according to the industry pubs. However, Rivian already has an engineering center for advanced concepts, body and lighting in Woking, just outside London.
Publicly traded Rivian only builds two vehicles – the R1T pick ’em up and the R1S, which looks like a Range Rover on steroids.
The pickup is definitely designed for American-style middle of nowhere off-roading, and the wading depth capability (3-feet-plus) is actually part of the marketing, along with the 11,000-pound towing capability. Never has there been a vehicle more irrelevant to Europe … and you can bet Rivian will sell a million of them here.
The company also is getting rave reviews from customers and it’s tagged as the company that can beat Tesla.
Of course, they have to get here first. Rivian currently has more than 1,800 job openings, including a handful in Europe. All the Europe jobs appear to be aimed at Americans and require English.
• a dozen jobs open in Woking, and all require knowledge of batteries and systems. You can see them all here.
• Field Service Tech in Munich. And this job tells us a lot about the future of the startup in Europe … you’d be part of pre-production. The position requires five years in the auto industry and three years in EVs.
There are also service jobs open in the Netherlands and other locations.
This is the electric brand we’re seeing all around the Netherlands. The Polestars look suspiciously like Volvos, which is no coincidence. This is a spin-off brand from the Swedish carmaker, which, of course, is actually a Chinese carmaker. Polestar was born as a competition subsidiary of Volvo, and the new Polestar 5 has like 600 horsepower. So, it seems like the goal is to turn drivers into a Max or a Lewis.
TechCrunch has a detailed post about Polestar’s entry into the U.S. market that includes all the background.
As of early December, Polestar has 157 jobs in 19 locations, including Oslo, Copenhagen, Vienna and Lisbon. There are customer rep jobs, HR jobs and marketing in various languages in every location. But the engineering and other skilled jobs are mostly in Gothenburg, Sweden.
• Manager Vehicle Configuration
This position includes creating “the future of electric vehicles.” And the ad says you get to build your team from scratch. No pressure. But you need experience in the automotive industry. The working language is English.
• Technical lead, digital facility
This IT position is responsible for the Digital Facility service, which is mostly about digital support and services, including booking and setting up conference rooms, getting printers to work (which they never do) and other support staff tasks. This opening requires serious fluency in English.
It looks like the most important experience is in project management and managing IT teams as well as knowledge of biz tech.
You can see all their open jobs here … and there are a bunch of exciting ones in Gothenburg, which is closer to Copenhagen than Stockholm.
Polestar has declared its intention to produce a fully carbon neutral vehicle by 2030.
Cupra is a new brand made at the SEAT factories near Barcelona. Parent company Volkswagen spun off Cupra in 2018. So, it’s not quite the ground-up new brand we want to focus on, but still … if you’re considering a career in the EV industry, there are worse companies to work for than VW. You can be pretty sure that paycheck isn’t going to bounce.
Also, they’re gonna sell a lot of these because this marque is more in the affordable, everyday drive category than the supercars from, say, Lucid. That said, Cupra – like Polestar – began life as a high-performance motorsport division of the parent company. In this case, your employer would be SEAT, with most of the jobs listed in Martorell, Spain, a suburb of Barcelona, though the working languages are English and German.
We have to say, of all the companies, the Cupra job descriptions are most puzzling. For example, “The FuRe-V leads the technical implementation of a function, from the PS to the EOP.” Huh? It doesn’t get any clearer.
• This one we get: iOS Engineer.
You would work in the Apple programming language Swift on new products. This can be a remote position.
There are, like, a million jobs related to electronics, systems and systems electronics. You can see them all here.
As of late 2021, every major automaker. including BMW and Mercedes. are shifting rapidly to EVs in Europe, so we’ll have a follow up post on new opportunities for highly skilled internationals.
Speaking of electric vehicles, Eindhoven – our HQ city – is becoming the battery research and manufacturing center of Europe as Asian countries lose their monopoly. We’ll have more on that in our next Eindhoven Business Briefing.
See more here from Dispatches’ Tech Tuesday archives.
Co-CEO of Dispatches Europe. A former military reporter, I'm a serial expat who has lived in France, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.