With the continuous support from the government and the growing eco-consciousness of the public, the demand for electric vehicles is increasing. With this, the automotive sector needs to keep up. Are mechanics ready?
Most mechanics know how to fix conventional cars. but electric vehicles are different. They have more advanced components and repairs can be more complicated. If you want to learn how to become an electric car mechanic, read on as we share some of the things to do. Building a prolific career in this niche may take time, but it will be worth it.
What Does an Electric Car Mechanic Do?
A lot are afraid that electric vehicles are making mechanics obsolete. While it is true that most electric vehicles require minimal maintenance, it does not mean that they will eliminate the need for a mechanic. With that, here are some of the duties of an electric car mechanic.
Even in electric vehicles, prevention is better than cure. As an electric car mechanic, one of your primary duties is implementing the necessary preventive maintenance. From the battery to the engine, maintenance is important to maintain peak functionality. This will also prevent costly repairs as it identifies problems before they are difficult to deal with.
Preventive maintenance is possible through diagnostic testing. It is a 360-degree inspection of the vehicle, which includes conducting various tests on each component, making sure that it works perfectly. If there is any problem, the mechanic will recommend an action plan.
Electric Car Repair
Most of the time, your work as an electric car mechanic calls for the need to handle different repair jobs. A lot of the components may end up faulty over time, especially if you are using a low-quality car. You need to have the right tools and master the right techniques to handle every problem and save the electric vehicle.
While electric cars come as a full package, experienced mechanics can help implement various performance enhancements. For instance, a low-powered battery can be replaced to make it longer-lasting and handle the demanding environment. The mechanic can determine what components need improvement for optimal power.
How to Become an Electric Car Mechanic
If you want to become an electric car mechanic, here’s what you should do. It does not happen overnight. Like in other careers, you will need to build your credentials from the ground up and work on improving your knowledge and skills.
Research About the Industry
The first thing that you need to do is to know the industry, especially how it relates to your specific location. How many electric cars are there in your state or city? What is the projected growth? How about the competition?
By answering these questions, it is easier to decide if being an electric car mechanic is a good career path or if it is a waste of time.
As a part of your research, learn about the major requirements, including the skills necessary. Then ask yourself – do I have what it takes? Your research is vital for an assessment of where you currently stand.
Enroll in a Vocational School or Community College
You do not need to complete a four-year degree to become an electric car mechanic. However, it is necessary to have background knowledge. This will provide you with the fundamental skills needed to be successful in your job.
Without formal education, it is difficult to stay updated with the latest techniques in electric car repair and maintenance.
Scout your area and look for a vacation school or community college. These are affordable institutions wherein you can gain a formal education to equip yourself with the right competencies. This will be an opportunity to have first-hand experience of handling electric vehicles.
Look for an educational institution with a Tesla START partnership. The latter is an intensive training program for developing technical expertise and foundational knowledge in electric cars. While Tesla itself implements the program, it is working with institutions around North America to make the program more accessible.
When you complete the Tesla training, you will become a Certified Electric Vehicle Technician. It takes 12 weeks to complete the training in one of the 12 colleges in the United States.
If you have a GPA of 85% or higher, you are guaranteed a job in one of the company’s service centers in the country.
More so, the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium also has various programs that will train people who want to become electric car mechanics. They provide automotive technology training in partnership with some universities in the U.S.
A lot of people may not have the time to go to a vocational school or community college to study the basics of being an electric car mechanic. Not to mention, there might be none available in or near your place of residence. With this, a good alternative is to study online instead. The problem, however, is that you won’t have hands-on experience.
One of the best websites to check out is Udemy. While you won’t earn formal recognition for the completion of the courses, they are great for having background knowledge that will complement what you already know.
While online training seems quick and convenient, in most instances, it isn’t enough. It does not give you the chance to have a first-hand encounter with electric cars and the problems to fix, so you might not succeed. We recommend it as an add-on to formal school training only and not a substitute.
After attending a vocational school or community college and completing online courses, it is now time to get real-world experience.
Start by looking for an internship. It is an easy way to build your experience for further employment. A lot of companies will not hire a person without experience, so having an internship helps.
Once you are done with the internship, it is time to look for formal employment. It will have a higher pay but will also be more demanding. You will receive the benefits that you were not given during an internship, such as health insurance and overtime pay, among others. Although, the specific perks will differ from one employer to another.
You have the option to work in a dealership for electric vehicles or start your own electric vehicle repair shop. However, since you are just starting your career, a better option is to work with a dealership. You will benefit from the team and equipment that they have. Plus, they already have a loyal customer base, so patrons will keep coming without you actively looking for them.
Invest in Industry Certifications
Learning should not cease. Even after landing a job that you want, continue to pursue opportunities to be better. This will not only make you better in your job but will also increase your value to the company. As a result, you can gain promotion and have higher compensation.
One way this is possible is by pursuing industry certifications.
Among others, one of the most important is a certification from The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Since 1972, it has been operating as an independent non-profit organization that aims to elevate the quality of vehicle repair.
To have an ASE certificate, you need a two-year related experience, which is why you should have an internship or full-time employment. During the certificate completion, you will take several tests. It also involves performance evaluations.
Skills You Will Need as an Electric Car Mechanic
To become a successful electric car mechanic, below are some of the most important skills:
- Mechanical Aptitude: Your knowledge of an electric car’s mechanical system is paramount to building a successful career. Whether it is for the battery or the engine, you must be adept at repairing and maintaining the different components.
- Manual Dexterity: As an electric car mechanic, you need to master how to use your hands quickly and skillfully. You must move it with proper coordination to manipulate objects and handle repairs like a pro.
- Attention to Detail: repairing electric cars can be overwhelming, especially for someone without sufficient knowledge. Being detail-oriented is essential, making sure that you do not miss even the slightest problems.
- Customer Service: Customer satisfaction is a priority when delivering any service. With this, electric car mechanics should go above and beyond their job duties to make their customers happy.
- Communication: Whether it is for customers or work colleagues, communication is crucial. Regardless if it is written or verbal, it is essential to be a good communicator to succeed in your job.
Other Tips for Being a Successful Electric Car Mechanic
Aside from having the necessary skills, below are some of the best things that can help ensure a successful career as an electric car mechanic:
- Drive an electric car. This will let you experience first-hand the common problems that you will have to deal with. Otherwise, it is challenging to understand how the system works and how to fix the issues.
- Invest in high-quality tools. If you work in a dealership, they will most likely provide the necessary equipment. Meanwhile, as an independent contractor, you need to have high-quality tools, such as a volt ohm-meter, battery charger, and insulated gloves, among others.
- Attend electric car events, including trade shows, expos, and conventions. It is an opportunity to build your professional network. It is also the chance to learn more about the industry, and apply it to your job.
- Do not stop learning. Having a certification alone is not enough. Electric cars are changing fast, so you have to keep up with the latest. Brush up on your readings, enroll in more courses, and surround yourself with the right people.
How much does an electric car mechanic earn?
According to Glassdoor, an electric car mechanic earns up to $50,398 annually. The specific figure depends on many factors, such as your location and employer. More importantly, your experience and qualifications also have a huge impact on your wage. Be ready to start with a small salary and work your way to the top to earn more.
What qualifications do I need to work on electric cars?
The qualifications for electric car mechanics vary from one company to another. In most cases, you need to have an associate degree or formal training. The latter will provide hands-on experience. An internship also helps. More so, you need to work on your skills, including manual dexterity, customer service, and communication.
Can auto mechanics work on electric cars?
Most mechanics cannot work on electric cars because they have different systems and components. Electric vehicles have more complicated parts, so maintenance and repairs require a different approach. With proper training, however, auto mechanics can transition into being electric car mechanics.
What are the most common problems with electric cars?
The battery of an electric car is the component that experiences the most problems. From charging issues to inefficiency over time, it can be prone to several glitches. It can even be a risk of fire when not properly cleaned or maintained. Having a difficult time starting, idling, engine noise, and poor power are other potential issues.
Are electric cars more difficult to service than traditional cars?
Yes, electric cars are more difficult to service than their traditional counterparts. One major reason for this is because they are newer, so not a lot of people know how to deal with them. They have more advanced components that many are unfamiliar with. More so, mistakes can be difficult and costly to rectify if you aren’t careful.
While being an electric car mechanic is a lucrative career, it isn’t for everyone. You need to invest in education, either from a vocational school or community college. Take training programs to build your core competencies. Getting internship and industry certifications are also necessary to advance in your job.