The impending switch to electric vehicles, or EVs, has been on the horizon for some time now. According to heycar - electric vehicles enjoyed a record year in 2021 against a market that was 28.7% below pre-Covid-19 levels. That’s probably not surprising too much of itself. When the government announced its Road to Zero strategy in 2018, it made clear that it aimed to make 70% of new car sales, ultra-low emission vehicles by 2030. This has prompted a lot of people to get ahead of the curve - research from Ofgem shows that one in four British consumers plan to buy an electric vehicle (EV) in the next 5 years.
So, with people switching to EVs, where will that leave the mechanic trade? Well it’s certainly likely to pose some interesting questions for business owners and fossil fuel enthusiasts alike and as the UK’s premier online car auction website for the trade and public, you can trust us here at RAW2K to keep you up to date on the ‘current’ situation. Here’s where things stand!
What’s the latest?
Well according to researchers, the mechanic trade isn’t going anywhere at the minute, however many do warn that you should be getting ready to adapt if the current trend continues.
For example, if things continue and more people turn to EVs to get them around, mechanics will need to be ready to deal with the changes in technology that make up these cars. You don’t need a tonne of mechanical knowledge to know that they’re very different beasts - for example, a petrol engine has over 2,000 moving parts, whereas an electric powertrain has less than 20. This is great news for the consumer, because EVs cost on average at least 30% less to service and maintain than petrol and diesel engine cars. On top of this, Professor Peter Wells, director of the Centre for Automotive Industry Research at Cardiff Business School says that it’s also easier for EVs to pass an MOT, because of the lack of parts.
On the other hand, fewer parts to go wrong means less potential business for mechanics. And according to the Institute of the Motor Industry, 97% of active mechanics aren’t suitably qualified to work on electric vehicles.
This could potentially be a big problem if things continue to carry on in the trajectory that they have been. As a mechanic, you may want to consider getting trained in electrical engineering in order to keep up with shift in demand.
So what’s so different about EVs?
To be completely honest, any savvy mechanic will be able to quickly adapt to the repair needs of an EV in no time. With fewer parts to manage, you won’t need to learn too much extra in order to adapt to the new technology.
From a health and safety perspective, the challenges posed by battery powered cars aren’t any more risky than that of a petrol or diesel engine. Yes, you’re working with high voltage electricity, but experts say that the risk of danger for mechanics isn’t any higher than it is normally. This is provided that the mechanics have been trained properly and follow the correct safety procedures.
To be fair, there aren’t too many differences between the two vehicles in the way that they could potentially go wrong. You can just as easily run out out of charge in in an EV in the same way that could run out of fuel in a conventional car and you can still suffer from burst/flat tyres. The main difference comes in the way which you have to deal with certain problems. For example, 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 this moment in time.
One of the biggest differences though comes in the challenges you face when looking to buy a second hand EV. Compared to petrol cars, EVs are significantly more difficult to buy second hand - this is mainly because when purchasing a second hand EV, it’s difficult to know how the battery has been treated by its previous owner. If it’s been especially neglected, a dodgy second hand battery can cost up to £5,000 to replace.
So why bother to change?
For now, it’s fair to assume that there’s no real rush to change things too much. A lot of the advice being given is based on predictions that experts have made when assessing the current social climate surrounding fossil fuels and electric cars. A few things are confirmed as fact, such as the Road to Zero strategy we mentioned above, as well as a few other factors that support the claims that mechanics will need to adapt at some point.
For instance, Vauxhall (one of the UKs leading car manufacturers) has confirmed that their entire vehicle line will be going electric by 2028, which isn’t that far away! The UK government has also confirmed that all production of conventional petrol and diesel cars is to stop completely by 2040, and with the price of electrical travel being significantly cheaper than that of petrol (4–6p per mile as opposed to nearer 13–16p of conventional petrol or diesel models), it’s fair to say that the EV revolution is gaining momentum and 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!
Here at RAW2K though - we’ll always be here to supply you with all your salvage car needs, regardless of what your stance is on EVs. Our online car auctions list thousands of used, salvaged and seized vehicles every week. So if you’re just a hobbyist or a full time professional mechanic, Why not take a look around, and see what you can find?