With the recent ban on new cars or vans powered by petrol or diesel to be sold in the UK from 2030, it’s safe to say we’re all relieved to finally be accelerating towards a future that is much more environmentally friendly.
Automotive giants like Jaguar Land Rover are already leading the way, by committing to becoming a fully electric brand from 2025, whilst Rover expects their fleet will be completely electric by 2030. However, with the all the rapid changes to the industry, the most obvious question comes to mind is: Will there still be a role for the traditional mechanic? Well, according to the Institute of the Motor Industry, 97% of active mechanics aren’t suitably qualified to work on electric vehicles.
Why the move to electric?
Electric cars differ from their traditional petrol and diesel counterparts in lots of positive ways. Their carbon footprint is almost non-existent, as they are powered by electricity, which is stored in a battery. Although an electric vehicle has a higher upfront cost, the fuel cost is generally less than half compared to a traditional petrol or diesel model.
Electric cars are also a great option for city living, where in places like London, congestion charges can set you back quite a bit. Electric cars offer a free pass to drive in high congestion zones. They’re also generally a much more enjoyable drive, especially when stopping and starting, and because they’re so lightweight they have a rapid acceleration.
The impact on the industry
There are 2,000 highly intricate moving parts that make up a petrol engine. By comparison, an electric engine has less than 20. According to Fixter: “Manufacturers will need to create around 17% fewer parts to build the new wave of vehicles.” Whilst this makes repairing and servicing much more efficient, the manufacturing industry will be hit hard by the reduction of work.
Of the 3% of mechanics who are currently qualified to work on electric vehicles, the majority are employed by manufacturer dealerships. Many traditional mechanics rely their business on minor repairs, such as oil changes, MOTs and tyres. If the work is concentrated to large dealerships, we’ll likely see lots of closures to smaller businesses.
The silver lining
More efficient electric vehicles require more technology. So whilst we might see redundancies within the manufacturing and servicing of traditional cars, there will be a demand for software engineers, as well as skills in chemical and battery production – assuming production continues in the UK.
It’s also entirely possible for workers who currently work in petrol or diesel manufacturing to be retrained for the electric industry, accepting the possibility there may be significantly less jobs available.
At Walsall College we understand the industry’s growing commitment to sustainability, which is why we have partnered with Electude UK to launch electric and hybrid training courses and workshops that use the latest industry standard equipment.
Apply now to secure your place for September. See our Automotive courses.