Electric Vehicles’ maintenance and safety skills for car technicians
The transport sector – currently the second largest contributor to CO2 emissions in the EU (Statista, 2021) – lies at the core of the EU’s decarbonisation efforts. In this context, electric vehicles (EVs) have emerged as a key component of the EU’s mobility strategy to modernise its fleet and reach net zero emissions.
Driven by EU’s CO2 targets for new cars and increased subsidy schemes, new EV registrations more than doubled to 1.4 million in 2021 (EU-27), representing a sales share of 10% (EV Outlook, 2021). Based on current growth rates, it is estimated that there will be at least 30 million EVs on EU roads by 2030, with one in two new vehicles sold being electric (Consultancy, 2021). Correspondingly, the European EV production will proportionally grow to reach 4 million vehicles annually by 2025.
This development has two major implications: a) existing car mechanics will require reskilling in order to maintain employability in the sector, and b) the automotive industry requires a workforce qualified to provide the essential repair and maintenance services. Compared to vehicles with conventional engines, car technicians require specialised and more advanced knowledge and skills on vehicle control & mechanics, system integration & programming, data analysis, and battery management, which were not previously part of their formal vocational training.
It is estimated that only 5% of technicians in garages had undergone the proper training to work on EVs (EXPRESS, 2021). The prevailing gap between the demands of the auto industry and current workforce’s skills highlights the need for large-scale reskilling and upskilling programmes on EV technologies and service/repair practices. Additionally, the shortfall of qualified car technicians is also listed as a deterrent for prospective buyers of EVs, thus undermining EV’s future growth (ACEA, 2020).
- Less than 1 in 3 garages offer repair & maintenance services for EVs (extrapolating from UK figures)
- The shortage of qualified technicians is cited by businesses as the main barrier preventing them from delivering repair/maintenance services for EVs
- Data analysis, ICT skills & technical knowledge on batteries & electronics are among the most demanded competences for EV car technicians. At the same time, their availability within the existing workforce is quite limited (DRIVES, D2.8.2: Gap Analysis).
- Dual VET systems (classroom-based training & apprenticeships) & on-the-job training are recognized as the most effective approaches to sectoral vocational training (DRIVES, D2.8.2: Gap Analysis)
- Skills requirements for EV repair/maintenance work are not standardised at the EU level, dampening EV technicians’ cross border mobility (ALBATTS, D3.4: Job roles and skills)
- Formal education has been quite slow in scaling up training offerings to the degree required by the rapid adoption of EVs
- Workplace hazards; EVs pose a high risk for EV technicians due to the presence of high voltages & the potential for the release of explosive gases and harmful liquids from batteries
- Roll-out the reskilling agenda of the Automotive Skills Alliance in partnership countries.
- Design and pilot-test a novel curriculum and tailored training content on EV service, repair & maintenance, to sustain car
technicians’ employability in a rapidly changing industry.
- Introduce contemporary and flexible training delivery methods and open educational resources (OERs) to support self paced skills acquisition.
- Foster the capitalisation of EVTECH results in VET practice, through validation, recognition and integration of relevant
occupational requirements into competence frameworks & certification schemes.