The question of whether garages should prepare now for electric vehicle repair has been a hot topic of debate over recent years but judging by the rate at which EV training is booking up, workshops are now appreciating the benefits of getting everything in place before EV adoption ramps up. Along with the significant numbers of hybrids entering the vehicle parc, it seems reasonable that the investment in training and equipment needed to take on this work will soon make significant returns – attracting new customers from competitors who are not prepared. AT’s local workshop has used its recent high-voltage training as a springboard for a new marketing campaign and they have discovered new customers who have come migrated from the main dealers and also directed from enquiries to the Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Repair Alliance (HEVRA).
Workshops who are seen to keep up with the times could also differentiate themselves from the competition when attracting new recruits. Offering training in the latest technologies is also a great way to retain existing staff.
Becoming EV-ready will not suit all – rural garages in an area with a poor charging infrastructure and low take-up are unlikely to see HV vehicles through the door anytime soon, but many urban workshops will only see more of them as time goes by. HV vehicles is unlikely to be the saviour of greener motoring but will certainly be part of the solution in the quest for more sustainable mobility, and the earlier you get on-board, the sooner you will become the go-to specialist in your area.
Training and investment…
“How can the aftermarket get ready for tomorrow, today? It’s important to prepare,” says Neil Fryer, Vice President for the global Delphi Technologies Aftermarket business at BorgWarner. “Technicians won’t be left behind as long as they have the skills to cater to the new vehicle landscape. For now, the electric vehicle market presents the biggest opportunity, so it should be the focus.
Fryer continues: “EVs use high voltage components and cabling, which means technicians need to be sure a car is electrically safe before working on it. Even a job that an auto technician does daily on ICE vehicles, such as changing brake pads, could cause a serious incident if done incorrectly on an EV.
“It is not an option to simply ‘learn on the job’ or as and when customers request EV assistance. Specialist training is needed to ensure garages are equipped to handle any vehicle confidently and safely. Theory courses are available online to get to grips with the new systems. Then, accredited in- person training such as we offer at Delphi Technologies gives a practical opportunity to test and develop skills with expert support. As new EV brands and models enter the market, parts will evolve, so training should be undertaken regularly to ensure you have a holistic knowledge of EV systems.”
“The profits generated from maintenance, service, and investigation of current ICE vehicles can be invested into training and equipment needed for EVs. It will be no easy task, but becoming experts in repair and maintenance for both types of vehicle will be a must in the modern garage.”
EV skills gap…
New data from the Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) reveals that the first six months of 2022 saw the highest number of technicians take an EV qualification that is eligible for IMI TechSafe accreditation, since its introduction in 2016. The number of technicians now qualified to work safely on electric vehicles is estimated to be 32,900; the equivalent of 15% of technicians in the UK.
Despite the rapid acceleration, the forecast of when the EV skills gap is likely to hit – the shortfall between electric vehicles on UK roads and enough approved technicians to service, repair and MOT them – has been dialled back by the IMI, from 2028 to 2027.
The new prediction draws on Auto Trader’s latest Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) parc data which suggests that alternative fuel vehicles will make up 37% (12.6 million vehicles) of the total car parc by 2030 and that 26% (9 million vehicles) will be pure EV with adoption more rapidly than previously anticipated. The IMI forecasts that the number of TechSafe qualified technicians required to work with electric vehicles by 2030 is 90,000.