Will electric vehicles pose a problem for mechanics?

Will electric vehicles pose a problem for mechanics?

As time goes by, it’s looking ever more likely that we’ll be seeing a mainstream switch to electric vehicles in the future. Online car sale website Heycar reported that electric vehicles (EVs) enjoyed a record year in regards to sales in 2021 against a market that was 28.7% below pre-Covid-19 levels. This could well be down to the announcement of the UK government’s Road to Zero strategy back in 2018, which has swayed buyers and manufacturers alike to show more interest in electric vehicles.

The plan made it clear that the government wants to make 70% of new car sales, ultra-low emission vehicles by 2030. As a result, an Ofgem survey has shown that one in four British consumers plan to buy an electric vehicle (EV) in the next 5 years.

So, where will this leave the mechanic trade? This is the question being asked by business owners and petrol-heads alike, and we’re here with a few answers at Intack Self Drive.

What’s the latest with this story?

According to experts, the mechanic trade isn’t going anywhere at the minute. However, they do advise an air of caution moving forward, as continuing trends point toward a need for mechanics to adapt to the increasing influence of electric cars. This might sound ominous, but to be honest there’s really no need to panic if you are a mechanic. Petrol engines have over 2,000 moving parts, whereas an electric powertrain has less than 20, so with the correct training, any savvy mechanic will be able to quickly adapt to the repair needs of an electric vehicle.

The problems arise in the current ability of mechanics to service electric cars. The Institute of the Motor Industry reported that as much as 97% of active mechanics aren’t suitably qualified to work on electric vehicles. Although this isn’t a problem right now, given that Heycar estimates that only 2-3% of UK drivers are currently using electric vehicles, if you’re a mechanic, you may want to consider getting trained in electrical engineering if you want to keep up with the shift in demand.On the flip side, this is great news for consumers, because EVs cost on average at least 30% less to service and maintain than petrol and diesel engine cars. As a result of the reduction of serviceable parts, it’s also a bit easier for electric cars to pass an MOT on average, since there’ are less parts that could potentially be faulty.

What is it about EVs that makes them so different?

In regards to health and safety, battery powered cars aren’t any more risky to work on than a petrol or diesel vehicle, provided you’ve been properly trained beforehand. Yes, you are exposed to high voltage electricity, but you’ll be glad to know that the risks associated with working on electric vehicles, isn’t any higher than it is normally.

Generally speaking, electric vehicles aren’t too different in the ways in which they can go wrong from combustion engine vehicles. For example, you can just as easily run out of charge the same way you’d run out of fuel, or suffer from a burst tyre. The main difference comes in the way which you have to deal with certain problems. Unlike conventional vehicles, EVs can’t be towed in the traditional sense if they suffer a breakdown while on the road. EVs (and hybrids for that matter) need to be lifted, with all wheels off the ground in order to move them, and only a handful of breakdown companies can supply the equipment to perform this task at the moment.

Should I consider re-training?

If you’re a mechanic, we’d say there’s no real rush to change your business practices at present. Much of the predictions being made regarding the increase in electric car influence based on the opinions of experts who are assessing the current social climate surrounding fossil fuels and electric cars. Here are the hard facts that we know - the Road to Zero strategy we mentioned above will come to pass unless there’s a revision of the plans, and recently Vauxhall (one of the UK’s leading car manufacturers) has confirmed that their entire vehicle line will be going electric by 2028. The UK government has also confirmed that all production of conventional petrol and diesel cars is to stop completely by 2040.

So, when taking all this into account, it’s reasonable to conclude that the EV revolution is gaining momentum, and at this point it definitely seems to be more a question of when, rather than if there will be need for mechanics to adapt.

So, whether you’re for or against the introduction of EVs, it’s looking increasingly likely that if you’re a mechanic, it might be time to think about getting yourself trained up on electric cars! If however, you find yourself in need of a rental vehicle to get you to work, or to take on holiday with you, you’re in the right place.

We offer the very best deals on van hire, car hire, and minibus hire here at Intack Self Drive. All of our rental vehicles come with the option to rent through daily hire, or our outstanding Flexi hire service, so wherever your intended destination, we’ll have a vehicle that suits your requirements. Ready to get started? You can browse the best hire deals right here on our site, or give us a call on 01254 57811!

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