Who Needs Electric Vehicle Training

 

Electric vehicles (EVs) are rapidly transforming the UK automotive landscape. While boasting enhanced safety features and lower fire risk compared to traditional petrol/diesel vehicles, EVs present unique challenges in the aftermath of an accident. These challenges include elevated heat generation, emission of toxic gases, and potential for re-ignition. These unique characteristics necessitate a crucial shift in the UK workforce. A significant reskilling gap exists across key sectors that require specialized training to handle EVs safely and effectively. This includes emergency services, roadside and recovery industry, and the wider automotive industry. By addressing this reskilling gap through comprehensive training programs, we can ensure the safety of both personnel and the public as the UK embraces the future of electric vehicles.

We identify 3 key sectors that need Electric Vehicle training the most in 2024. 

1 - Emergency Services

2 - Roadside & Recovery

3 - Automotive Servicing Industry

1 - EV Training For The Emergency Services

Fire & Rescue Services

The rapid adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK presents a unique challenge for the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS). Firefighters are increasingly likely to encounter EVs at the scene of accidents, demanding specialized skills to ensure their own safety, effective fire suppression, and successful occupant rescue.

This reality necessitates a significant reskilling effort within the FRS. An estimated 80% of the UK's 55,000 firefighters require some degree of EV retraining. This training should equip them with the critical knowledge and practical skills to navigate EV emergencies effectively. Key areas of focus include:

  • Understanding Electric and Hybrid Vehicles: Equipping firefighters with a solid foundation in the fundamentals of EV technology, including battery systems, high-voltage components, and charging infrastructure.
  • Rapid EV Identification: Developing the ability to quickly and accurately identify EVs at accident scenes, allowing for swift implementation of appropriate safety protocols.
  • Safe Disconnection Techniques: Mastering the safe use of emergency disconnect capabilities on EVs to de-energize high-voltage systems, minimizing the risk of electrical hazards.
  • EV Fire Suppression and Fumes Management: Understanding the unique challenges of extinguishing EV fires and effectively managing the potential release of toxic fumes.
  • Underwater Rescue from EVs: Developing specialized skills for safely rescuing occupants trapped in submerged EVs, considering the added complexity of high-voltage components.
  • High-Voltage Battery Damage Management: Understanding the risks associated with damaged high-voltage batteries and implementing safe handling procedures.
  • Effective Technology Utilization: Equipping firefighters with the knowledge and skills to utilize relevant technologies, such as Moditech's Crash Recovery System, for enhanced safety and rescue effectiveness.

By addressing this reskilling gap through comprehensive training programs, the UK Fire and Rescue Service can ensure their personnel are prepared to face the evolving challenges presented by electric vehicles. This investment in training will ultimately safeguard firefighters, the public, and property in an era of accelerating EV adoption.

Police Forces

While police officers play a vital role in first response situations involving electric vehicles (EVs), their primary responsibility doesn't extend to vehicle extrication or fire mitigation. Therefore, extensive EV training falls second in priority compared to firefighters. However, this doesn't diminish the importance of core EV training for police personnel.

An estimated 60% of the UK's 150,000-strong police force requires reskilling in EV awareness. This training should focus on equipping officers with the knowledge and skills to prioritize scene safety for themselves and others. Crucially, training should cover:

  • Distinguishing EVs from Conventional Vehicles: Officers need to be able to quickly and accurately identify EVs at accident scenes, allowing for the implementation of appropriate safety protocols.
  • Recognizing High-Voltage System Risks: Understanding the potential dangers associated with high-voltage systems in EVs is critical to ensure officer safety when approaching and securing accident sites.

By prioritizing this core EV training, police forces can effectively manage their resources while ensuring the safety of both officers and the public in the face of increasing EV adoption on UK roads. 

Ambulance Services

While ambulance personnel aren't directly involved in vehicle extrication or fire suppression during EV accidents, their proximity to the scene necessitates specialized training. Therefore, ambulance crews are considered the third priority for extensive EV reskilling.

However, this doesn't negate the importance of adapting their existing medical, operational, and clinical training to address EV-related incidents. An estimated 80% of the UK's 55,000 ambulance personnel require upskilling in handling EV emergencies. This training should equip them with the following critical knowledge and skills:

  • Understanding EV Operation: A basic understanding of how EVs function, including battery systems and high-voltage components, allows ambulance crews to better assess the potential risks at an accident scene.
  • High-Voltage Risk Recognition: The ability to identify potential high-voltage hazards associated with damaged EVs is crucial to ensure the safety of both patients and medical personnel.
  • Electric Shock Treatment: Refresher training on treating electrical shock ensures ambulance crews are prepared to render immediate medical aid in the event of an EV-related electrical injury.
  • Chemical Burn and Inhalation Management: Understanding the potential for chemical burns and inhalation hazards from battery damage equips ambulance personnel to effectively treat such injuries during EV incidents.

By prioritizing this targeted EV training, ambulance services can ensure their crews are prepared to provide safe and effective medical care in the face of growing EV adoption on UK roads.

2 - EV Training For Roadside & Recovery 

The rapid adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) on UK roads presents both opportunities and challenges for the roadside assistance and recovery sector. While EVs offer environmental benefits and a glimpse into the future of transportation, their unique characteristics necessitate specialized training for personnel who may encounter them in the field. Here's why investing in EV training for UK roadside and recovery teams is crucial:

1. Mitigating High-Voltage Risks: Unlike traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, EVs pose unique safety hazards due to their high-voltage battery systems. These systems can remain energized even after an accident, increasing the risk of electrical shock for recovery personnel. Without proper training, a seemingly routine towing operation can escalate into a serious electrical incident.

For instance, imagine a roadside assistance technician attempting to tow an EV that has been involved in a minor collision. Unaware of the high-voltage system risks, the technician makes contact with exposed wiring during the towing process, resulting in a potential electrical shock. EV training equips personnel to identify these hazards, implement safe working procedures, and prioritize their own safety in such situations.

2. Effectively Addressing EV Battery Fires: EV battery fires can be particularly challenging to extinguish compared to conventional vehicle fires. Understanding the characteristics of these fires and proper suppression techniques is essential for roadside and recovery teams. Without this knowledge, recovery attempts can inadvertently exacerbate the situation.

Consider a scenario where a recovery team arrives at the scene of an EV fire. Lacking proper training, they attempt to extinguish the flames with water, which can worsen the fire due to potential electrical reactions with the battery. EV training equips personnel with the knowledge to utilize appropriate fire suppression techniques and prioritize safety during such emergencies.

3. Safe Handling and Recovery Procedures: EVs require specific procedures for safe towing and recovery, considering the weight distribution and potential damage to high-voltage components. Improper handling can lead to vehicle damage or pose safety risks.

Imagine a roadside assistance team attempting to tow an EV using conventional methods, unaware of the specific lifting points and weight distribution unique to EVs. This can result in damage to the vehicle's frame or high-voltage components. EV training equips personnel with the necessary knowledge and skills to safely tow and recover EVs, minimizing the risk of damage and ensuring the vehicle's integrity.

4. Passenger Extrication Considerations in EV Accidents: In the event of an accident, the high-voltage system in an EV poses additional challenges for emergency responders trying to extricate passengers. Recovery personnel need to be aware of these considerations to avoid compromising safety.

For instance, a recovery team arrives at the scene of an EV accident where the driver is trapped inside. Unaware of the potential for high-voltage hazards, they attempt to cut through the vehicle frame with rescue tools, putting themselves and the occupant at risk. EV training ensures recovery personnel understand the unique considerations for occupant extrication in EV accidents, enabling them to prioritize safety and work in collaboration with emergency responders.

5. Enhanced Roadside Assistance for EVs: Roadside assistance personnel may encounter situations where basic troubleshooting or diagnostic skills specific to EVs can prevent unnecessary towing and resolve the issue on-site.

Consider an EV driver experiencing a sudden loss of power while on the road. A roadside assistance technician with EV training is able to diagnose a low battery issue and provide a temporary solution like a mobile charging unit, avoiding the need for a tow and minimizing inconvenience for the driver. By equipping personnel with the ability to diagnose and troubleshoot common EV issues, roadside assistance companies can enhance their service offerings and improve customer satisfaction.

Investing in EV training for roadside and recovery teams in the UK is not just about keeping pace with technological advancements; it's about prioritizing safety, optimizing service delivery, and ensuring a smooth transition towards a future dominated by electric vehicles.

 

 

3 - EV Training For Automotive Services

For Automotive Dealership Sales Professionals

Sales professionals should have a solid grasp of the core components that differentiate EVs from traditional vehicles. This includes familiarity with battery systems, electric motors, charging infrastructure, and range considerations. By understanding these components, sales staff can effectively explain their functionality and address customer questions with confidence.

Safe Operation and Maintenance: Knowing how to safely power on and off an EV is critical for both demonstrations and customer handover. Training should also cover essential maintenance practices specific to EVs, including battery care and charging procedures. This equips sales personnel to accurately advise customers on proper EV care and maximize customer satisfaction.

Investing in basic EV training allows dealerships to bridge the knowledge gap and ensure their sales staff are well-equipped to navigate the evolving EV marketplace. This translates to a more informed and confident customer experience, ultimately driving sales success in the age of electric vehicles.

For Automotive Mechanics

As the number of EVs on UK roads increases, so does the demand for qualified technicians to service and maintain these vehicles. While extensive training may not be an immediate requirement for all automotive technicians, upskilling the workforce remains critical.

Here's why targeted EV training is essential for independent garages and automotive service providers:

Prioritizing Technician Safety: Working with EVs necessitates a deep understanding of high-voltage systems and the associated risks. Comprehensive training equips technicians with the knowledge and skills to safely perform maintenance and repairs on EVs, minimizing the risk of electrical shock and injury.

In-Depth System Knowledge: EVs have unique electrical and electronic components as well as specific maintenance requirements. Training should provide technicians with a thorough understanding of these systems, covering battery packs, electric motors, charging infrastructure, and high-voltage safety protocols. This knowledge base empowers them to diagnose issues effectively and perform necessary repairs with confidence.

Essential Service Techniques: Routine maintenance activities for EVs often differ from those for traditional vehicles. Training should equip technicians with the skills to carry out these tasks effectively, including battery diagnostics, charging system checks, and high-voltage system maintenance procedures. Additionally, safe transportation and storage of EVs within the workshop environment requires a specific skillset that targeted training can address.

AWARE Series offers training courses for all levels of professionals who work with Electric Vehicles on a daily basis.

Our EV & HybridAWARE Course trains delegates on the basics of Electric Vehicles, including identifying the key components of the EV & Hybrid side, and how to power up and power down these systems safely.

If you would like to view all our Electric Vehicle Training courses, click here.

Gary Tucker, Managing Director of Network Training Partnership

Awarded the 'Outstanding Contribution to the Motor Industry' by the Institute of the Motor Industry at their 2020 Centenary Awards and a finalist in the Talent in Logistics Industry Ambassador Awards 2020.

A dynamic, entrepreneurial personality and strategic leader with a proactive attitude and history of proven success within the Military and Commercial sectors. Can be relied upon to always produce outstanding results in exceptionally high-pressure situations.