A tiny fraction of heavy vehicle technicians have the know-how to work on high voltage vehicle systems, raising concerns that the transition to net zero will be even more challenging than first predicted.
Analysis by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) suggested that just 3% of HGV technicians are qualified to work on EVs.
It said the estimate was calculated using an evaluation of the number of people obtaining the relevant qualifications as a proportion of the 30,000 mechanics, technicians and fitters currently working on HGVs, trailers and PSVs nationally.
It means there are only 900 technicians EV trained – seriously undermining moves towards an electric-powered future.
Steve Nash, IMI CEO, said: “We have long championed for the government and the automotive industry to collaborate to overcome the financial, administrative and skills difficulties that EV technology is bringing to the vehicle repair industry.
“And there are certainly signs that employers are stepping up the pace to support the UK’s rapid EV transition.
“However, our latest analysis reveals that the shortfall in qualified EV technicians in the HGV sector is of even greater concern than that faced by the passenger vehicle and light commercial vehicle markets.
"With the need to meet the government’s HGV decarbonisation pledge – and a big ramp-up in EV adoption already occurring in the public transport space – there is a huge risk that there simply won’t be the skilled workforce to work on high voltage vehicle systems.”
The government has already pledged to phase out new, non-zero emission HGVs weighing 26 tonnes and under by 2035 and by 2040 for all other new lorries.
The IMI said this ambition should be applauded, but that it also had “grave concerns” that the UK could not adequately support the decarbonised HGV fleet.
“We are already lobbying government for more funding to support the necessary training and we are also working with government agencies to suggest ways in which they could help to alleviate the severe recruitment issues,” Nash added.