Technological advancements are informing the way maintenance specialists are trained and deployed in the industry.
From all accounts, the EV market is exploding nationwide. Recent studies show that by 2030, the market is expected to hit $1.58 trillion. This exponential growth has led to the need for maintenance professionals uniquely trained and positioned to service EV cars and charging stations.
Because the EV market growth has been so significant, the rate of qualified infrastructure maintenance experts being trained and brought into the industry has struggled to keep pace. To meet the rapidly growing demand, there will need to be an increased focus on training maintenance professionals with specialized knowledge and skill sets for the EV market.
The need for certified experts
One of the main reasons for the overwhelming need for maintenance experts is the problem with EV charging stations evident across the US. Much like the number of skilled maintenance experts struggling to keep up with EV demand, the number of working and accessible EV charging stations has lagged, causing understandable frustration among EV drivers.
Many EV aficionados claim the issue of broken EV charging stations goes under-reported, causing rampant “charging anxiety” among EV drivers. They are not concerned with how many miles they can get out of a full charge, but rather if there will be a working charging station available when they need one.
The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program is aiming high with a goal to fund a large-scale deployment of charging stations to maintain a 97% operational uptime. The problem is that there are simply not enough certified and qualified professionals available to meet that uptime goal.
This lack of certified experts has created undue stress on the industry. With the market continuing to grow by leaps and bounds year after year, there will need to be a significant push to train and certify EV charging station maintenance specialists.
How to train
With the automobile market changing, the maintenance space will also have to shift. Technological advancements are informing the way maintenance specialists are trained and deployed in the industry.
The EV revolution has created an opportunity for those with electrician or auto maintenance skills to add to their abilities and create new career prospects for themselves. The EV industry has great potential for new job opportunities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As of an October 2023 report, there are still too few technicians certified to work with EV vehicles or within EV infrastructure, with only 1.5% of ASE Certified technicians holding a certification for EV work. Those interested in the proliferation of clean energy and the continuation of EV technology will need to press for more training, better training, and greater deployment of trained technicians to keep up with the rate of EV adoption.
Artificial intelligence and virtual reality tools are emerging as an efficient and effective way to train the next generation of EV maintenance technicians. Through virtual reality training modules, technicians-in-training can learn by doing and practice complex repair approaches and maintenance tasks in a safe and immersive digital environment.
AI has proven to be a useful tool in evaluating the skills and knowledge base of electric vehicle technicians. Through AI assessments, those tasked with training these specialists can see where upskilling may be required and deploy the right technicians to the right areas of need.
Gamified training also helps EV technicians train for this new world of work, as gamification makes training and upskilling engaging and even fun. Through gamified training modules, technicians can master new skills and competencies that the EV market desperately needs if the infrastructure hopes to catch up with EV driver adoption.
Data is significant from a training perspective, and those who are training and certifying EV workers will need access to real-time insights, up-to-date knowledge, and the most advanced training materials to keep the skill levels up to speed with the industry’s rapid rate of change.
The future of EV adoption
Everyone from casual drivers to our nation’s government is taking the EV revolution seriously. The Biden Administration has spearheaded the installation of 500,000 new EV charging stations nationwide to be up and running by 2030. While this adoption of electric vehicles is promising, without trained and certified people to keep the charging infrastructure operational, the revolution may be dead in the water.
While finding a charging station in the United States will become easier as more stations are built on the heels of Biden’s push for better infrastructure, the operability of those stations is what matters. Without access to charging capabilities, people may abandon EVs altogether.
With emissions from gas-powered vehicles continuing to wreak havoc on the environment, it is important that the momentum of the EV revolution is maintained. Through training and certifying EV infrastructure maintenance experts, all of the good that electric vehicles have brought to the environment can continue.
Rue Phillips is president and co-founder of SkillFusion, a digital customer service platform for training, certification, and compliance of Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Electricians, Technicians, and EV-ComTechs.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect those held by pv magazine.
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