The Electric Vehicle Revolution: Transforming the CNC Machining Industry

As the world accelerates toward a greener, more sustainable future, the electric vehicle (EV) revolution is at the forefront of this transformation. This paradigm shift from internal combustion engines to electric motors is not only changing the way we drive but also the landscape of various industries. One such industry deeply affected by this transition is Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining. In this article, we delve into how the rise of electric vehicles is reshaping the CNC machining sector, the challenges faced by manufacturers, the impact on CNC part buyers, and the implications for the European CNC industry, with a focus on Germany.

by Orderfox
11 Oct

The global automotive industry is experiencing a significant transformation with the rise in popularity of electric vehicles (EVs). This shift from traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to EVs is reshaping the way we transport ourselves and has far-reaching implications for various sectors of the economy, particularly manufacturing. The Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining industry is one of the sectors that is feeling the effects of this change.

A Paradigm Shift in Automotive Design

Electric cars are different from traditional cars because they use electric motors and batteries instead of engines. They are more sustainable and efficient, with lower emissions and quieter operation. However, these changes have consequences for the CNC machining industry.

One of the most immediate effects is the significant reduction in moving parts in EVs. Traditional ICE vehicles have thousands of components, including intricate engine blocks, crankshafts, and pistons. In contrast, electric cars have fewer moving parts.

As electric vehicles require fewer parts for their engine systems, the demand for machined components decreases. This shift poses challenges and opportunities for CNC machining companies traditionally relying on this sector for revenue.

Challenges Faced by CNC Machining Companies

  • Shrinking Demand for Traditional Components: With fewer moving parts and no internal combustion engines, electric vehicles eliminate the need for many traditional components that CNC machining companies have specialized in. As the demand for items like engine blocks and camshafts decreases, these companies must adapt to stay competitive and ensure that their CNC machines can operate at full capacity.
  • Machining Difficult Materials: Car manufacturers specializing in electric vehicles prioritize lightweight materials like aluminum and carbon fiber for high-end cars as they help improve the car's efficiency and range. However, these materials can be challenging to machine, and CNC machining companies must invest in new equipment and expertise to handle them effectively.
  • Workforce Skills: In the constantly evolving CNC machining industry, there is a high demand for skilled workers who can efficiently operate and maintain specialized equipment. As new machinery and techniques are introduced, companies face the challenge of developing and retaining a well-trained workforce.

The EU Ban on Combustion Engines

It's important to note that the automotive industry's transformation is accelerating, with the European Union planning to ban combustion engines from 2035. This directive further reinforces the shift toward electric vehicles and pressures CNC machining companies to adapt to the changing landscape.

Impact on Manufacturers

Manufacturers in the CNC machining industry are at the forefront of adapting to the electric vehicle revolution. They face both challenges and opportunities as they navigate this changing landscape.

Challenges for Manufacturers:

  • Adapting to Shifting Demand: The transition to electric vehicles necessitates manufacturers to reconfigure their production lines, potentially involving worker retraining and machinery retooling to cater to the production of new EV-specific components.
  • Shifting Specialization: Reduced demand for CNC-manufactured parts for ICE vehicles has prompted manufacturers to diversify their clientele across various industries. Manufacturers are expanding their customer base instead of exclusively producing automotive components in different sectors.
  • Investment Costs: When machining difficult materials like aluminium, CNC machining companies, especially smaller ones, may struggle to afford the necessary investments in equipment and technology.
  • Competition: With the increasing number of CNC machining companies shifting their focus towards EV production, competition in this field has become more intense. Manufacturers need to differentiate themselves by using technological innovations, offering superior quality products, or competitive pricing.

Opportunities for Manufacturers:

  • Specialization: Some CNC machining companies may specialize in manufacturing components specifically for electric vehicles. By focusing on this niche, they can become experts in machining difficult materials and offer specialized services to EV manufacturers.
  • Diversification: Manufacturers can explore diversifying their client base beyond the automotive industry. Branching out into aerospace, medical devices, or electronics industries can provide stability and new revenue streams.
  • Innovation: Embracing technological advancements in CNC machining, such as robotics and automation, can improve efficiency and precision. These innovations can make companies more competitive and adaptable to changing demands.

Impact on the European CNC Industry, Especially in Germany

The automotive industry's transformation has significant implications for the European CNC machining industry, particularly in countries like Germany, known for their strong automotive manufacturing presence. The shift towards electric vehicles is reshaping the landscape:

Increased Focus on EV Manufacturing:

Germany, a hub for traditional automotive manufacturing, increasingly emphasizes electric vehicle production. This transition affects CNC machining companies as they need to adapt their capabilities to meet the demands of EV manufacturers.

Rising Investment:

German CNC machining companies are investing heavily in new technologies and equipment to remain competitive in the evolving automotive market. This includes advanced CNC machines designed for precision machining of lightweight materials used in EVs.

Skilled Workforce:

Germany's CNC machining sector is renowned for its skilled workforce. The shift to electric vehicles has led to increased demand for machinists and engineers with expertise in machining lightweight materials, driving further investment in workforce development.

Global Competition:

As the European CNC machining industry transforms, it faces international competition from countries with emerging electric vehicle markets. Companies in Germany and across Europe are working to maintain their position in the global supply chain for EV components.

Impact on CNC Part Buyers

Buyers of CNC machined parts, including electric vehicle manufacturers and other industries, also experience the effects of the electric vehicle revolution:

1. Increased Options:

With the expansion of the EV industry, CNC machining companies are adjusting to meet the demand. Consequently, purchasers now have a broader selection of suppliers specializing in machining EV components. This heightened competition among suppliers can lead to improved pricing and quality for buyers.

2. Quality and Precision:

Focusing on machining difficult materials in the EV sector necessitates higher precision and quality control. Buyers can benefit from improved product quality and reliability as CNC machining companies invest in advanced technologies and processes.

3. Bigger Manufacturer Pool:

As the CNC machining industry continues to change, buyers can now choose from a wider selection of manufacturers. Some manufacturers may have extra production capacity due to decreased demand from the EV car industry, creating more market competition. This increased competition can result in lower prices for CNC machined parts.


The electric vehicle revolution is reshaping the automotive industry and, in turn, the CNC machining sector. While challenges are associated with reduced demand for traditional components and the machining of complex materials, there are also opportunities for companies that embrace change. By investing in advanced equipment, developing their workforce, and diversifying their customer base, CNC machining companies can adapt to the changing landscape and thrive in the era of electric vehicles. 

Recommended reads

Transform the industry with Orderfox!

Our two AI-based products are specially designed to meet the current and, most importantly, future requirements of the industry.