Dec. 12, 2017—A Washington Post report on Monday analyzed how electric vehicles could impact the future of mechanics at facilities like auto dealerships or independent repair shops.
The U.S. auto repair industry, after all, employs roughly 750,000 workers, and, unlike gas-powered engines, EVs obviously don’t require many repair-shop staples like oil changes.
“People are freaking out,” longtime Massachusetts mechanic Craig Van Batenburg, who recently spoke with Ratchet+Wrench on the issue, told the Post. “Ninety percent of our industry has done nothing—absolutely nothing to prepare. They just turn the hybrids and and EVs away and say ‘We don’t work on those cars, go back to Ford or Toyota.’ The fear factor is huge.”
Van Batenburg feels Volvo’s decision to largely turn its attention away from gas-powered cars was the unofficial “point of no return.” Analysts estimate that repair bills for EVs would be significantly lower and less frequent than bills for gas-powered vehicles.
“We will always need technicians for electric vehicles because all cars have accidents and sustain damage,” Ron Swanson, president of the Electric Auto Association’s North Texas chapter, told the Post. “But I think there will be job losses among technicians because there’s just not enough maintenance to go around.”
In the opinion of Jeffrey Cox, vice president of the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association, repair facilities have a fighting change to brace for EVs because they have another 10-15 years to prepare.
““I think the introduction of electric vehicles into the mainstream is a longer road than most people think,” Cox said. “The market share that they’re going to have will be small for the first five years and then it will be another five years before their warranties end …”