First cohort of EV mechanics graduated

City of Vancouver, BCIT developed program to teach mechanics electric vehicle maintenance

Energy Minister Michelle Mungall, BCIT Dean of Transportation Guy Ellis, left, and recent graduates of EV maintenance training program. | Nelson Bennett

The BC Institute of Technology (BCIT) plans to launch a new electric vehicle maintenance training program for mechanics in the New Year, following the completion of a training pilot program conducted with the City of Vancouver.

There are currently about 30,000 EVs on the road in B.C. The City of Vancouver has its own fleet of 120 electric vehicles, and plans to add 90 more electric passenger cars, and 12 medium and heavy duty trucks.

With $325,000 in funding from the B.C. government, BCIT worked with the city to develop a new EV maintenance training curriculum and pilot training program to train city mechanics in EV maintenance. Twelve city mechanics have graduated with Red Seal certification in the EV maintenance program.

Michelle Mungall, minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, said EV sales in B.C. are exceeding expectations. Under the CleanBC program, the target was to have electric or hydrogen fuel cell cars making up 10% of all new sales by 2025.

But new sales already hit 9% this year, thanks in no small part to a new federal subsidy, which can be stacked on top of the one offered by the province.

“We’re 9% in 2019,” Mungall said. “We’re projecting to be five years ahead of schedule.

“This program that has been piloted by the City of Vancouver and BCIT is coming right in time, because British Columbians are buying zero emission vehicles more than ever. They’re going to need help in maintaining those vehicles.”

EVs don’t actually need a lot of maintenance. They don’t require oil changes, belts or air filters. But when they do need maintenance, mechanics may need some special new high-tech skills.

The new program developed by BCIT will give mechanics the certification they need to work on EVs with 30 hours of class training. BCIT plans to offer the new EV maintenance training program in the New Year. Its curriculum will be available to other post secondary institutes throughout the province.

BCIT is also planning to develop an EV maintenance curriculum for electric buses and heavy duty trucks.

nbennett@biv.com

@nbennett_biv