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2030, 2035… We don’t have enough technicians to work on the EVs on the road in 2023, warns independent firm Warrantywise.

Blackburn, 28 September 2023


Comment from Lawrence Whittaker, CEO at Warrantywise:

“There’s a lot of chatter about the pros and cons of electric vehicles (EVs) at the moment, but there’s still an elephant in the room with EV ownership – we don’t have enough technicians to fix them when they go wrong, or to maintain them for the future. I mentioned this in March 2022, and it still hasn’t moved on quickly enough to keep up with demand, and I’m not seeing enough being done to solve it, either.

“Despite Rishi Sunak’s recent decision to delay the ban of new petrol and diesel [internal combustion engine (ICE)] vehicles until 2035 [in the UK], a delay of five years on the previous plan [originally 2030], it remains evident that the UK will still likely face a shortage of EV technicians by that time. I’ve heard arguments from OEMs, comments from all areas of the automotive and transport industry about how we need a cohesive strategy about the EV implementation and ICE ban. However, no-one is talking about the fact that, regardless of this date moving, we don’t have the talent to look after the EVs of today, and we’re not doing enough to prepare for the future… Regardless of if that’s 2030 or 2035.

“Where is this concern coming from? Partly from The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI)*, who issued a report in June this year [2023], which said there will be a potential shortage of 25,000 qualified TechSafe technicians by 2032. By 2030 [the original date of the UK’s ICE ban], the IMI predicts that we’ll need 107,000 TechSafe-certified technicians to work with EVs, a figure that’s expected to increase to 139,000 by 2032. Although this may seem achievable, the IMI’s adjusted forecasts have drawn attention to a potential shortage of 20,000 EV technicians by 2030, inflating to 36,000 by 2032. What will we need in 2035? Who knows, but the problem isn’t going away judging by these figures.

“As a CEO working in the industry, and as someone invested personally and professionally, I’ve been doing some more reading in this area. One report to note is from the Climate Change Committee** who predicts the number of EVs in the UK will increase from 1.1 million recorded in early 2023 to 28 million by 2035, with the UK government’s ban on the sale of new cars with an internal combustion engine (ICE) likely the main factor for this unprecedented growth. This increase in EV ownership is further highlighted as a fifth [20 per cent] of all new cars registered in August 2023*** were battery electric vehicles (BEV), an astonishing 72 per cent increase from August 2022. With more new EV sales, that also increases the number of used EVs available. For our company [Warrantywise], we’ve sold more EV warranties over the first half of this year [January to June 2023] than in the whole of 2022. If you look at the trend and warranty sales in the past three years, it’s doubled year on year, which means it should only go one way – up!

“With more used EVs there’ll be more need for used EV technicians. However, the Climate Change Committee report doesn’t show that the supply of technicians is keeping up with demand. In fact, 14,800 skilled technicians were certified in 2022, increasing the number of qualified technicians trained to work safely with EVs to 39,000, accounting for 16 per cent of all technicians in the UK – but, as we can see, that’s still not enough.

“The IMI also collaborated with Garage Industry Trends**** to explore whether the Department for Transport’s consultation for extending a new car’s first MOT from three years to four would be beneficial based on rapid technological development in the automotive field including the growth in the use of alternatively fuelled vehicles -and the findings were eye-opening. Contrary to what the public may believe, research shows that EVs are indeed less complicated to maintain ‘mechanically speaking’ than cars that run on petrol or diesel, they just need technicians capable of taking care of them.

“It’s worth highlighting that EVs are, however, more complex due to the added technology vs. a traditional ICE-powered car, and while they have fewer ‘moving parts’, it’s this added hardware and software that cause them to have a habit of going wrong in different ways than their ICE counterparts. It’s why they [EVs] will always require trained, certified technicians to fix and maintain them. Yet, despite a push from the UK government including education regulators such as Ofqual, SQA, CCEA, and Qualifications Wales, IMI warns current economic pressures may result in cuts to funds usually available for training, leading to fewer businesses investing in the necessary TechSafe qualification for its technicians.

“During the first quarter of 2023, the education provider certified 3,345 skilled technicians, a 10 per cent drop in EV qualifications in comparison to the same period in 2022, drawing attention to some key issues in the automotive industry. The causes for these? The IMI concludes that growing economic pressures are having an unprecedented impact on businesses, leaving less money to spend on training technicians. Another reason for this decline could also be down to the automotive industry’s vacancy rate, which currently stands at approximately 26,000 unfilled positions.

“TechSafe qualification is crucial for EV repairs. To further maintain their TechSafe recognition and competence, qualified technicians must undergo continuous professional development to keep up with the constantly evolving technological world of the EV sector, which also takes time and investment. The need to continue learning about EVs, and how to maintain them safely, displays how qualified technicians constantly need replenishment and re-training as the number of trained professionals isn’t lining up with the exponential growth of the industry.

“Whether it’s 2030 or 2035 when we see the ICE ban, I call on the government as well as the UK’s major education regulators to encourage more businesses to understand the benefit of ensuring their employees are TechSafe qualified, so they can safely carry out work on EVs, today. An increase in certified technicians who can work on EVs results in easier maintenance of an EV, something almost everyone will be driving in just over a decade. With many restrictions on the use of ICE-powered cars, such as London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone expansion, for example, owning an EV will most likely become the reality for most drivers soon.

“At Warrantywise, we understand and encourage the importance of changing the future of the motoring industry to be more sustainable, but it cannot take place without the qualified resources to support it. By working with education providers and a wide range of garages and workshops, I believe the government can take advantage of the increase in the uptake of EVs and use it as a springboard to promote the importance of TechSafe-qualified technicians.

“This is echoed in a recent manifesto***** published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which draws attention to the notable skills gap that’s emerging in the automotive industry. The manifesto particularly requests all political parties to create a one-stop-shop national upskilling platform, and develop the future talent that business needs, combined with greater STEM education in schools and a dynamic immigration system that attracts global talent. The entire industry will undoubtedly welcome these changes but are needed today, not in seven years’ time.

“Regardless of how the future looks for training more TechSafe technicians, it’s important to remember that a used EV is only as good as the technician working on it. As we all demand consistently outstanding customer service and a quick turnaround for servicing any product, can we afford to not invest in our EV technicians?”


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