EVs will have profound industry effects beyond tech: report

by | Jul 20, 2023 | 0 comments

Over time, the rise of EV and other zero-emissions technologies will inevitably have a significant effect on the way vehicles are sold, maintained, repaired and recycled, which will in turn have implications for the way in which work in the aftermarket sector is completed. 

The B.C.-based Automotive Retailers Association (ARA) engaged research firm MNP to research the labour market impacts of the transition to zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) and automation technologies.

A Project Governance Committee, comprised of representatives from the automotive sector in B.C., the ARA, post-secondary institutions, regulatory authorities (e.g., SkilledTradesBC), and the B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low-Carbon Innovation, guided the research.

While the report focuses on the impact on the B.C. aftermarket, similar implications will be felt nationally.

Here are some of the report’s key findings.

  • Of the five technologies included in the study, ZEV adoption is expected to have the most significant impact on the sector. While ZEVs bear a number of similarities to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, they also differ in some elements related to repair and maintenance, towing and recycling. These differences create the requirement for new skills and the strengthening of existing ones.

  • The complexity of repair work is set to increase. While ZEVs are expected to require less maintenance and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) technologies are expected to reduce the number of collisions, the nature of repairs may be more complex and severe (in the case of collision repairs). ADAS technologies have a lot of sensors and components that need to be properly calibrated to function correctly. Batteries and fuel systems in ZEVs are complex and several safety considerations need to be accounted for in repairing them.
  • Adoption timelines remain unclear as there are a number of factors affecting adoption. Approximately 50 per cent of on-road vehicles are expected to be ZEVs by 2035 and approximately 60 percent by 2040. However, several factors may impact this adoption timeline, such as manufacturing capacity, the cost of the technology for both the consumer (e.g., ZEVs) and businesses (e.g., AI, robotics) and geographic location.
  • Minor changes to the sector’s overall workforce composition are forecasted. While minor shifts in workforce compositions may be expected within sub-sectors, the overall workforce composition of the sector is expected to be largely unaffected.
  • Automotive service and autobody and collision technicians, auto dismantlers and IT specialists are the occupations anticipated to see the greatest requirement for upskilling and reskilling. Electrical, battery and technological skills such as software programming and computer diagnostics are the priority areas of training for these occupations. Other priority areas for the wider sector include data literacy and analytics and health and safety skills.

  • A mix of skills is expected to be required owing to the mix of vehicle fuels that will be in circulation in 2040. A combination of mechanical and electrical skills will be required across the sector. Although ZEVs are expected to require less maintenance, there will still be a need for maintenance and repair of brakes, suspension, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and electronic systems. Further, ICE vehicles are estimated to still comprise some 40 per cent of the provincial vehicle fleet in 2040 and will need repair and maintenance.
  • Skill shortages may continue to emerge. The current skill set of the workforce is not growing at the same speed as technological change, creating a skill gap between that of the workers and what employers require. Skills related to battery removal, IT, electrical, software programming and data analytics were areas identified as most at risk of being in short supply.
  • The frequency of training is expected to increase. Ongoing training is set to become a requirement for those working in the sector. This is particularly true for automotive service technicians and autobody and collision technicians, whose roles are among those occupations forecast to experience the greatest degree of change. (Please note that the need for ongoing training is distinct from the re-introduction of skilled trades certification (also known as mandatory certification) for these occupations). As such, a continuous learning mentality, albeit not a skill, was noted as a highly important requirement for current and future workers.
  • The costs associated with increased training and skill development will likely affect some businesses’ viability, which may lead to consolidation and changes in service availability in some regions. Approximately 70 per cent of businesses in the s`1ector have fewer than 10 employees and 4 percent have more than 50. Smaller businesses may be less able to invest in training, skill development, and technology. This is particularly true in cases where facilities cannot pass their training costs on to their customers or among facilities that may not have the volume to justify investments in accessing repair information and training. As a result, facilities may consolidate or specialize in specific services or vehicle types. This may also reduce the availability of services in some regions of the province and/or change how services are provided in rural areas.
  • Skill specialization is forecast to increase. There is some consensus that a trend towards skill specialization will emerge (e.g., the specialization of repair and maintenance for ZEVs and ICE vehicles). With it, new occupations are also set to appear. As new roles emerge and others evolve to become more specialized, training is also expected to become more specialized. This will have implications for the provision and design of training.
  • Car ownership models are beginning to change. This has implications for the number of vehicles on the road. Specifically, the rate of growth of vehicles on the road will be lower than the projected growth in the driving age population due to anticipated changes in car ownership in urban areas. Changing ownership models also impact the frequency of repair and maintenance. Vehicles that are part of a car share system or fleet will likely require more frequent maintenance than personal vehicles due to higher usage rates and more demanding operating conditions.
  • How batteries are managed will have implications for the sector and its workforce. Currently, no system is in place to safely repurpose and recycle ZEV batteries. The development and implementation of an extended producer responsibility (EPR) program for ZEV batteries are identified in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy’s Extended Producer Responsibility Five Year Action Plan 2021-2026.1 The design and delivery of the EPR program have the potential to create new occupations within the Sector and will impact training requirements for those dealing with vehicles for which the batteries are being removed and/or replaced.

To read the full research report, click here.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *