UK could face electric car nightmare with severe shortage of qualified EV mechanics

An electric car check

One expert warned that the lack of EV training would be bad for the UK economy

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 23/09/2023

- 10:00

There are fears garages could be complacent with training mechanics for electric vehicles now the car ban has been pushed back

Experts are warning that the UK could see major issues with the number of mechanics who are qualified to work on electric cars.

Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), issued a warning about the future of aftermarket services in the coming years.

Commenting on Rishi Sunak’s decision to delay the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles to 2035, he said there was a “serious disconnect” in the automotive industry.

He slammed the decision, saying the industry had worked hard to overcome “a lack of any clear strategy” with many now finding themselves “caught between a rock and a hard place”.

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He said: “However, there’s another concern that has much more serious consequences for the UK automotive sector.

“The mixed messages employers and individuals who work in automotive are receiving can only serve to stultify the commitment to training that is fundamental to safe roads and sustained economic stability.

“But, if automotive employers and their workforce can’t see the immediate return on investment of EV training because of lack of consumer buying confidence, the already critical skills gap will only widen and we could find the wait times for repairs extending even further than they are already.

“That can’t be good news for the UK economy and social mobility.”

There have been concerns from some that the uptake of electric vehicles would be hampered because of the delayed ban as drivers find themselves with more time to stay with their older, potentially more polluting petrol and diesel vehicles.

Many are also concerned about the future of garages and whether they would be able to cope with the influx of electric vehicles.

There have been warnings for years that the UK would see dramatic shortages of EV mechanics before the original 2030 deadline.

It has been suggested that the shortfall number could be as big as 25,000, with motoring organisations calling on the Government to promote the industry.

Steve Nash highlighted how many mechanics and garages would continue to focus on both internal combustion engines and electric powertrain technology.

He continued, saying: “When it comes to independent garages there will, understandably, be considerable nervousness to commit training to a drivetrain that could easily be 10 years down the road before it comes through their doors.

“Busy as a consequence of the pandemic, with the average age of vehicles in the parc increasing to 10 plus years, and facing a significant skills gap, they are already struggling to manage demand.

“As such, there’s little reason for them to prioritise training right now on electric vehicles.

“It’s imperative, therefore, that having made this monumental decision to U-turn on the 2030 target, the Government thinks very carefully about how it ensures UK infrastructure remains effectively supported by the automotive aftermarket.”

The automotive industry is holding out hope that the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate will ensure there is a consistent supply of electric cars available for the general market.


An electric car check

Earlier predictions suggested there could be a shortfall of around 25,000 mechanics


With plans for it to be introduced next year, car manufacturers will likely be required to have 22 per cent of total car sales be electric from next year.

This will continue to increase until they reach 80 per cent EV sales in 2030 and 100 per cent sales five years later.

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