Report shows Wisconsin manufacturers can benefit from investing in EVs

Wisconsin manufacturers have a “tremendous opportunity” to become a critical epicenter of the global supply chain for electric vehicles (EV), but only if bold public/private investments are made over the next few years, according to a report released by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC).

“Wisconsin’s automotive manufacturing sector is one of its greatest economic assets,” employing more than 92,000 workers in communities throughout the state, notes the report from SRI International for WEDC.

The report concludes that for Wisconsin to stay competitive as the world transitions from internal combustion engines (ICEs) to electric vehicles and electrically powered technologies, the sector must keep pace and reinvent itself to become part of the growing EV supply chain.

The report notes that Wisconsin’s automotive suppliers are less vulnerable to the disruption caused by the shift to EVs because they manufacture components for both ICE and EV products. For example, metals fabricators and plastics product manufacturers hold an outsized presence in Wisconsin compared with other states. Many of these suppliers are small- and mid-sized businesses that employ fewer than 50 workers.

The report cautions, however, that the labor-intensive nature of these businesses make them more vulnerable to labor shortages, which may make them less competitive over time. The answer, the report recommends, is to increase productivity through investments in worker retraining and advanced manufacturing technologies — and the payoff will be higher wages for workers and growing demand for their products.