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Driving change: Adapting UK garages to the growing EV market

By autotech-nic on November 14, 2023

By James Lett, Technical Expert at Autodata

The latest SMMT new registration data show the sale of new Electric Vehicles in the UK now stands at 37%, accounting for more than one-third of all new cars sold for the first time in history. We’re seeing similarities in the used car arena, as consumer sales for EVs continue to grow compared with previous years.

Despite steadily growing consumer demand for EVs, many UK garages still don’t have access to the necessary training for technicians to upskill and repair them, nor the specialist tools to service and repair EVs safely.

This is especially important now the used-car EV market is increasing. With older vehicles requiring more regular maintenance, garages must be able to access funds to meet these demands.

Preparing for the future of EV repairs

There is a widening skills gap to repair EVs. The reasons behind this are varied, but we are seeing technicians are being left without the specialist training they need. This is not because of their own shortcomings, rather it’s the underlying challenges that independent workshops are facing. These include lack of governmental support to fund training and lack of time for training due to the shortfall of technicians entering the industry.

This current skills shortage in the automotive sector means there is minimal time for upskilling. While workshop software tools can increase the efficiency of current operations, the consensus is clear. Training needs to be more readily available for new and seasoned technicians, and the responsibility cannot be solely on the workshops in themselves to action this.

Investing in the right tools

EV repairs can be a challenge for smaller garages because of their heavier reliance on software compared to combustion engine vehicles.

The cost of equipping workshops with EV-related equipment is a key roadblock. While the EV market is certainly growing, petrol and diesel cars are still the largest market, so investing in EV tools may seem unnecessary for garage owners who are already struggling to keep up.

This is where tapping into technology can help. There are now resources available for technicians that offer information on the specific tools that are required for each vehicle model to both help manage capacity and streamline processes.

A collective responsibility for change

Collaboration between educational institutions, industry associations, and garages themselves is vital to ensure that a qualified workforce is ready to meet the growing demand for EV servicing and repairs.

It’s the only way that we can ensure that our vehicle technicians have the essential training they need to provide services safely and effectively.

Governments can lend crucial support by setting standards and providing incentives for training and infrastructure development, with the synergy of these efforts equipping garages with the knowledge and tools necessary to thrive.

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