How Automotive Technicians Are Preparing for EVs

How Automotive Technicians Are Preparing for EVs

The movement toward EVs offers new challenges for automotive technicians around the country. Many trade schools have not adopted an EV curriculum yet.

As more EVs hit the road, a new wave of technicians are necessary to ensure the maintenance, servicing, and repair of these electric cars. Thankfully, many schools and automakers are already working toward programs that will teach new students the process of fixing or servicing an electric vehicle. Let’s see what’s happening right now.

Dealers Are Working to Train Current Technicians

Cadillac dealers around the country were told they needed to invest at least $200,000 each into selling future EV models starting this year, or they would need to stop selling cars. While about 200 dealers chose not to make this investment, those dealers that stuck around will see growth in the knowledge base for their technicians. These techs are getting the training required to move forward with EV sales and service. Although some dealers are struggling to get techs that work on EVs, this area of the market is a great way for younger students that are more tech-savvy to get into this business.

The Technology is Evolving, Making a Curriculum More Challenging

Currently, automotive technicians don’t have to teach hybrid or electric programs for cars, but with the EV future looming, they might need to. The greatest challenge is the constant changing of the technology for these vehicles. Many schools and automakers are working on various curriculums to teach this technology, but once a program is built, the tech changes, rendering that program obsolete. Its hard to know if battery tech will eventually slow down or halt to allow these programs to catch up.

GM Has a Strong Presence in Automotive technicians

Since 1979, the Automotive Service Education Program (ASEP) developed by GM, has bene training automotive technicians. This program is offered in more than fifty community colleges around the country and it brings two-year associates degree program to the mix. The focus for this program is on repairing GM vehicles. With the movement toward more electric models, GM says it will work toward introducing parts of the current program with a focus on EVs for the future. This can ensure students receive required training to work on electric and gas-powered vehicles.

Many Automotive technicians Use a Stellantis Program

The Mopar Career Automotive Program (CAP) is taught in a network of nearly 100 schools. Automotive technicians with this program are moving toward the EV future by implementing the necessary training to equip students with the information needed. Stellantis plan to ensure all schools teaching electric vehicle repair and technology courses on high voltage safety as well. Some of these students receive hands-on training under the supervision of experienced technicians, which helps them understand the technology and gain the confidence needed to work around this dangerous equipment on a daily basis.

Adding Programs at Oakland Community College

The realization that more training and an updated curriculum brings the staff at Oakland Community College to the commitment to add hybrid and EV classes for the future. They are considering an EV curriculum to help ensure future automotive technicians have the training required to service these vehicles properly. Currently, the classes offered don’t cover this area well and more comprehensive classes are necessary to teach mechanics what they need to know for the future. This will be an important part of the transition for students in this program at Oakland Community College.

EV Training Access is Part of the Future

It’s important for dealerships to constantly improve the training of their service staff. Both Stellantis and GM offer access to EV training that’s not offered to independent service centers. This could be an important distinction as many automakers look to have tech that understand their vehicles and equipment. While it would take several years before having a major impact, if independent service centers can’t receive the same training as dealership locations, they might not be able to service electric vehicles in the future.

Nearly Half of All Service is Electric

Something that automotive technicians should pay attention to for the EV future is the fact that nearly half of all service revenue comes from hybrid work right now. This will grow as more electric models arrive in the market. Of course, this is brand specific right now. Many car companies only have a handful of EVs in the market at the moment, but those that do, see their service centers bringing in the money with the electric and hybrid models they fix. If automotive technicians are going to continue to teach tech that will likely go to independent service centers, they need a curriculum for hybrid and EV technology.

Some Locations are Ready, Others are Behind

Whenever something new happens in the automotive world, some areas are ready for it and have taken steps to make the most of it, while others feel like they’ve just gotten blindsided by this new tech or movement forward. Electric vehicles are the future of the automotive world and will need service the same as any other car. There are some components that require repair, replacement, and maintenance, no matter what juice is used to power that vehicle.

Will Fewer Service Center Be the Future?

The harsh reality of electric cars is they require less maintenance and have fewer moving parts, especially in the drivetrain. That said, these vehicles present specific challenges that must be understood by any technician working on them. One of the most daunting of these challenges is the included high-voltage wires that could kill a person if they aren’t handled properly during servicing. While we don’t know if all EVs will require dealer servicing in the future, we do know this will be a special skill and for the first few decades there should be a great deal of overlap between EVs and gas-powered vehicle servicing.

As EVs develop and become more common, automotive technicians will be better prepared to service these vehicles. Which electric vehicle will you drive in the future?

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