Furthermore, the Social Market Foundation says that the skills shortfall among EV qualified technicians, risks driving up servicing costs and potentially leaving some drivers unable to have their cars maintained properly.
With the number of EVs on the country’s roads reaching one million, a report from the Social Market Foundation suggests that the number of skilled technicians that can service such cars is not keeping pace.
The report, A Vehicle for Change, highlights industry estimates that by 2027 there will not be enough qualified mechanics to maintain all of Britain’s EVs.
By 2030, the country could face a shortfall of 25,000 qualified technicians.
It follows a similar warning from the Institute of the Motoring Industry (IMI) earlier this year, which revealed that only 11% of technicians in the UK are qualified to work safely on EVs.
The IMI said it fears a “ticking time bomb” of consumer confidence, as motorists struggle to find appropriately qualified technicians.
The Social Market Foundation is calling for Government to step up work to prepare the British workforce for Net Zero, supporting efforts to recruit and train more workers with the skills needed to maintain EVs.
“Formalised, professional and accredited training routes to prepare technicians for EV repair and maintenance are needed”, the Social Market Foundation report said.
It suggests that reforms should allow more of the money paid by larger employers for the Apprenticeship Levy to be used to fund that training.
The SMF report is based on interviews with mechanics and technicians and industry experts. It highlights concerns that the skills gap could raise the cost of repairs or reduce the quality of repairs, which would decrease consumers’ willingness to make the switch to EVs.
The SMF highlights the limited attention paid to vehicle technicians’ skills in Government plans to decarbonise transport. Neither the Department for Education (DfE) and Department for Transport (DfT) have examined how growing EV uptake will impact vehicle technicians or developed policies to support workforce growth.
A key challenge identified in the SMF research is attracting new entrants to the sector because of what industry leaders describe as an “image problem” around car maintenance work.
Perceptions of that work as dirty, hard and male-dominated deter some would-be recruits from pursuing a career as a mechanic, the SMF found.
Amy Norman, senior researcher at the Social Market Foundation, said: “Britain is in real danger of running short of the skilled mechanics and technicians needed to keep EVs on the roads.
“More needs to be done to ensure more workers are getting the skills and training needed to keep Britain on the road to net zero. That means better policies to support skills and training, including more creative use of Apprenticeship Levy funds.
“It also means doing more to attract recruits into this vital trade.”