Calls for increase in specialist EV garages as UK skills fall short

The CEO of car warranty firm, Warrantywise, has called for an increase in specialist EV garages as skills requirements across the UK are failing to keep up with electric vehicle production.

Lawrence Whittaker, CEO at Warrantywise, said: “We’re heading for an electrified future, but from where I’m sitting, we’re heading head-first into a skills gap and UK electric vehicle (EV) owners will be the first ones having to pay for it.

“With the Government looking to entice motorists into swapping to EVs via grants, I’m calling for the same politicians to invest in halting the ever-widening skills gap, especially when we know the 2030 deadline for the end of internal combustion power for new vehicles.”

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has recently seconded this, and has called for a £15m funding injection from the Government to help address the skills gap.

The organisation currently reports that of a total workforce of 238,000 motor technicians in the UK, only 15,500 are IMI TechsafeTM registered and qualified to work on EVs – that’s just 6.5% of the UK’s total motor technician workforce.

Whittaker continues: “The skills gap is simple and evident to me, and as a specialist third-party automotive warranty provider, it’s worrying. There are more zero emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road than there are specialist third-party mechanics and skilled labour to maintain them.

“With predictions of more than ten million electric-based cars on the road by 2030, and the Government working towards 2030 with its own emissions goals, this is something we need to fix, and fast, or else customers will end up having to continue to pay dealer rates.”

Warrantywise research has shown that HEVRA, the Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Repair Alliance, who supports the UK’s electric and hybrid vehicle industry with technical backing and training, has just over 180 specialist member garages to help diagnose and fix electric vehicle problems and need to add another 120 in 2022 alone to keep up with demand.

While this year they are on track, with 17 new garages opened already in 2022, by 2025 they will need to open a new EV specialist garage every day to keep up. That is also only based on existing cars which are under warranty, not possible future numbers.

Peter Melville, HEVRA founder, said: “The car repair sector has changed enormously since the days of stripping down oily engines, and it requires a different skillset to what was needed in the past, but also can appeal to a different kind of person. It’s important that those people who would be very useful and very happy in this sector don’t overlook it based on the stereotypes of the past.”

Image: courtesy Warrantywise

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