Skills Gap Could Cost EV Buyers

Mon 14th Mar 2022

The motor industry could meet a crisis point unless more is done to train mechanics to maintain electric and hybrid vehicles, says a leading figure from automotive warranties.

2021 was a record year for electric vehicles sales, and with this year showing similar signs of growth, EV buyers could pay the price if a lack of expert knowledge is available to deal with any issues owners face.

The most recent figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders suggest that 2022 is currently beating last year’s EV sales by a factor of one and a half, with 24,850 EVs registered in January and February alone.

But figures from the Institute of the Motor Industry has said that only 6.5 per cent of the 238,000 strong workforce of motor technicians is qualified to work on EVs, and there is a shortfall on specialist garages available to diagnose and fix electric problems.

Now, Lawrence Whittaker, CEO of Warrantywise, has backed the IMI’s push for significant government funding to address the skills gap. 

“The skills gap is simple and evident to me, and as a specialist third-party automotive warranty provider, it’s worrying,” Whittaker said.

"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. That’s the simple maths.

“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.

“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.”

Industry analysts suggest that 6.5m households are planning to buy an electric vehicle at some point in the next five years.