2021 saw more electric vehicle car sales than the previous 5 years combined in the UK with a total of 18.5% of all new cars registered being electric or hybrid. With so many of us swapping in our gas-guzzlers for a greener alternative, the need for people who can fix and service our electronic vehicles is obviously increasing as well. And that’s where we seem to have hit a snag.
Not enough EV technicians to meet demand
There are only about 35,000 mechanics in the UK who are currently trained to work on EVs, and with the government putting a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, and approximately 500,000 electric cars already on the road, we’re going to see the gap between number of electronic vehicles and number of qualified technicians who can work on them get even bigger.
Graham Stapleton, chief executive of the retailer and motoring services business Halfords commented on the engineer shortage. “There are simply not enough [technicians] and we will have to keep training thousands every year if we want to be anywhere near the levels needed.” He went on to say, “I’ve been talking to the Government because I am very concerned that we need to be training more people, or at least setting out how this process will take place.”
Potential shortfall of 40,000 technicians
The Institute of the Motor Industry has estimated that we’ll need roughly 90,000 specially trained mechanics by 2030, and that based on the current growth trajectory, we’ll see a shortfall of almost 40,000 EV technicians.
Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry commented “Once the charging network is fit for purpose, combined with electric vehicles becoming more financially accessible, the next big challenge will be how to ensure we have a workforce adequately qualified to provide the essential servicing, maintenance and repair to keep these vehicles safe on the roads. And that’s where we believe Government attention – and funds – should be focused now.”
So, what are the government doing?
Well, in 2020, they committed to £1.9 billion in investment to support the transition to zero emissions vehicles, but many believe this is not enough and that focus should shift from charging infrastructure and user/customer incentives to training technicians so that our EVs are safe to remain on the road.
Retailer Halfords seem to be taking things into their own hands and have said it “will also take on hundreds of extra staff after agreeing a £62 million deal to buy Axle Group, owner of the National tyre servicing brand. The deal will help Halfords expand its operations to 1,400 locations and will boost the rapid growth of its services business.”
With a predicted 11 million electric cars being on the road by 2030, there clearly needs to be a training plan in place, and with the government facing mounting pressure from motor groups across the country, we hope to hear that plan very soon to ensure the UK’s plans for a greener future can come to fruition.