28 Feb 2024

39,000 mechanics now EV-qualified, but skills shortage remains warns IMI

39,000 UK mechanics were EV-qualified by the end of 2022, according to new figures from the IMI, up 14,800 on the previous year, but the uptake of the relevant skills needs to be accelerated to avoid a potential 16,000 technician shortfall by 2032, the organisation has warned.

According to the IMI, 103,000 IMI TechSafe-qualified technicians will be needed by 2030 to work with electric vehicles, increasing to 124,000 by 2032. However, the amended estimate points towards a possible 4,500 deficit by 2029, rising to 16,000 by 2032.
Part of the problem is that the sector needs to re-think the assumption that EVs will need less servicing than ICE cars, as IMI CEO Steve Nash noted: “Despite a long-held belief that EVs – with less moving parts – will be quicker to service than their ICE counterparts, in-depth analysis conducted by the IMI for our response to the MOT Consultation suggests otherwise. In particular tyre wear on electric vehicles is heavier than on ICE models; according to Garage Industry Trends analysis of 2021 MOT test data, EVs had a failure rate of 11.43% for 2018 registered vehicles compared to 10.45% for petrol vehicles and the weak point was identified as tyres.

“The assumption that more EVs can be serviced by a single technician compared to non-EVs therefore no longer rings true. Garages and workshops can’t simply assume they will need fewer technicians to service EVs. Add to this the fact that the UK car parc is ageing rapidly, increasing the need for maintenance and adding to the already sizeable workload of technicians, and it is easy to see how the training and deployment of technicians qualified to work on EVs needs to shift up a gear.”

Steve added: “Despite good take-up of qualifications in 2022, economic pressures are putting a squeeze on training budgets for new EV technicians and for those who are already IMI TechSafe qualified yet need CPD to keep up with technological advancements. Coupled with the high employment churn, this is putting more pressure on the sector. If the government does not step up soon with training support, EV trained technicians will not be available and so it risks scoring an embarrassing own-goal on its decarbonisation target.”