Electrifying the Future

Business Insights

The automotive industry is undergoing a revolutionary shift, transitioning from fossil fuels to clean, sustainable electric and hybrid technology. This transformative change presents both challenges and opportunities.

While the environment wins, mechanics face the need to adapt and acquire new skill sets so that they can stay relevant in this evolving market.

The Need for Electrified Expertise

The rise of hybrid and electric vehicles (HEVs) demands a workforce equipped with a comprehensive understanding of their unique characteristics and safety protocols.

These vehicles operate on high-voltage systems that require specialist knowledge to diagnose, repair, and maintain them, safely and effectively. Without this expertise garages risk losing business and facing a number of health and safety concerns.

The Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) predicts that by 2030 the sector will need more than 107,000 Electric Vehicle trained technicians, increasing to 139,000 by 2032, and 185,000 by 2035. At the end of January 2024, there were 52,000 qualified EV technicians in the UK, representing 22% of all technicians in the country. The figure stood at 45,300 just six months earlier.

If current training trends continue, it is expected that there will be a shortfall of 30,000 EV qualified technicians by the time the ban of new ICE vehicle sales comes into force in 2035.

A unique skill set

Electric Vehicles (EVs) operate with high-voltage systems, so you need trained technicians who understand how to work safely around these vehicles. They can isolate the high-voltage system during repairs and ensure proper reinstatement afterward.

EVs require specialized knowledge for diagnostics and repairs. Skilled technicians can efficiently identify and fix issues, so need to have the following knowledge and skills:

  • Battery Maintenance and Repair: Expertise in handling, diagnosing, maintaining, and repairing high-voltage battery systems safely.
  • Charging Infrastructure: Knowledge of EV charging infrastructure, including different types of chargers, charging protocols, and installation requirements.
  • Communication Skills: Effective communication with customers to explain complex technical issues and provide recommendations for maintenance and repair.
  • Diagnostic Skills: Ability to use diagnostic equipment and software to identify issues with electric drivetrains, battery systems, and other EV components.
  • Electrical Systems Knowledge: Understanding electrical systems including batteries, motors, controllers, inverters, and charging systems and knowledge of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in EVs, which often differ from those in conventional vehicles.
  • Mechanical Skills: Traditional automotive repair skills such as brake repair, suspension work, and wheel alignment are still necessary, especially as EVs have similar mechanical components to internal combustion engine vehicles.
  • Safety Protocols: Strict adherence to safety protocols for handling high-voltage components, including proper insulation and use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Software Proficiency: Familiarity with software systems used for diagnostics, updates, and performance optimization in electric vehicles.

This is an area which is constantly evolving and developing, so the need to stay updated with the latest advancements in EV technology through training programs and continuing education courses is vital.

Technicians of tomorrow

By participating in accredited training and development programmes, mechanics can acquire this valuable knowledge and skills to help them confidently service the growing fleet of EVs, expanding their client base and securing their place in the future of the automotive industry. Creating supportive learning environments and programmes where mechanics can interact, share experiences, and stay updated on the latest advancements in HEV technology will play a major part.

The role of educators

Colleges and training providers are now delivering courses to include relevant information about electric vehicles, focusing specifically on EV technology, including topics such as electric drivetrains, battery technology, charging infrastructure, and environmental impact. 

Their role is to not only create new provision but to look at their existing provision:

  • Integration of EV Content: Incorporating EV-related content into existing courses such as automotive engineering, electrical engineering, environmental science, and transportation planning ensures that students gain exposure to this emerging technology across various disciplines.
  • Hands-on Experience: Providing students with spaces and projects that allow them to gain practical hands-on experience, working with EV components, such as batteries, motors, and charging systems.
  • Industry Partnerships: Collaborating with local garages and industry partners allows teaching teams to stay updated on the latest advancements in EV technology and industry practices. Guest lectures and industry visits provide students with real-world insights and opportunities for networking.
  • Enviromental Benefits: Educators should explain the environmental benefits of electric vehicles and the role they play in sustainable transportation such as reducing carbon emissions, promoting renewable energy integration, and addressing challenges associated with battery production and disposal.

By actively engaging with curriculum development and delivery, educators can ensure that students are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and mindset necessary to contribute to the growing field of electric vehicles and sustainable transportation.

John Hughes, Curriculum Lead, Motor Vehicle
Bradford College

To explore our range of Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Courses visit our website.

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