The Federal government has introduced an electric vehicle training program for apprentice mechanics.

The new program is a part of the New Energy Apprenticeships that was launched last year by the Australian government.

This government-funded program provides incentives to place more apprentices into sectors transitioning to support Australia’s reduced emissions target of 43 per cent by 2030.

Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor said that the government was regularly observing programs and is now aware of what the industry needs.

“We must do all we can to supercharge our efforts to address climate change, as well as address the acute skills shortages we face to rewire the nation,” he said.

Apprentices in EV maintenance and other professions will receive up to $10,000 for their training.

Workshop manager, Dom Della Camera, is one of many workshop owners across Australia who manage automotive apprentices.

He believes that this program is a great initiative for apprentices who are new to the industry.

“I believe introducing EV training for apprentices that also has an incentive is a fantastic idea especially when they are still learning the trade,” he said.

“I think the government needs to put the same incentives in place for mechanics that have been in the industry for over 10 years.”

In 2023, the Australian Automotive Service and Repair Authority released data from their annual report.

The report indicated that there is a small proportion of mechanics that are certified to service electric vehicles.

Source: AASRA 2023

President of the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA), Dr Chris Jones, believes that there is a shortage of motor mechanics who are not trained in electric vehicles.

“We have a huge problem with insurance companies writing off otherwise repairable vehicles because they can’t find workshops willing to do the work,” he said.

“While these workshops may not have staff trained in EV work, the one-day course required to do even the bare minimum (isolate the EV battery and re-energise) isn’t that expensive or hard.”

Motor mechanics who do not have auto-electrician training cannot work on minor repairs such as a car battery.

Having fewer mechanics and repairers trained in electric vehicles can have a disastrous effect on wait times in the workshop.

The mechanic shortage is becoming more of an issue due to the increasing electric sales this year.

One in five passenger cars sold is now electric.

The surge in electric vehicle sales is brought on by the government’s New Vehicle Efficiency Standard.

Source: NRMA 2024 – Bridie Schmidt

The New Vehicle Efficiency Standard would make car manufacturers sell more efficient cars (including EVs), to get under the emission standard.

In 2024, data that was provided by Vfacts and Electric Vehicle Council show the Top 10 EVs in Australia between January and March.

The data it illustrates that the automotive company Tesla is the favourite among electric vehicle consumers.

Tesla has taken more than half of the total EV sales in the early months of 2024 compared to their main competitor BYD.

Tesla, MG, and GWM have significantly cut their prices of their cars to make them more affordable for consumers.

In April, the Tesla Model Y dropped the pricing across the range by up to $8500.

Source: Vfacts & Electric Vehicle Council – Compiled by Bridie Schmidt for NRMA 2024

Primary school teacher, Steve Barron, is an advocate for electric vehicles and bought one at the start of this year.

“I bought my Tesla Model Y due to petrol prices going up and having solar panels at home makes it cheaper for me to charge it at home,” he said.

“I prefer to drive an electric car over a petrol car as it runs smoother, cheaper, comfortable and the car has not needed a service since I bought it.”

Dr Jones is concerned that there will be a problem for electric vehicle customers who want to get their car serviced, particularly with warranty jobs and body repairs.

“If you bought a new EV from a dealership, that dealership will be the main port of call when things go wrong,” he said.

“Probably a greater concern is ensuring regional workshops have the training they need to keep up with the growing share of EVs in the bush.”

The NSW government has recently reached out to motor mechanics and repairers through a survey to review training requirements in the motor repair industry.

This survey also introduces many proposals for how to train motor mechanics and repairers in electric vehicles.