Industry Article

So You Wanna Work With EVs? Here’s What You Need to Know

March 24, 2024 by Rue Phillips, SkillFusion

Certified electric vehicle service equipment technicians are just one role at the forefront of improving EV charging and are crucial to the ongoing adoption of EVs and operability of current and future infrastructure. 

In the global march toward sustainable energy solutions, transportation electrification has been a pivotal moment in what is being called the “Green Revolution.” Automobile giants such as General Motors are pledging to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles in the next decade. New electric vehicle (EV) sales have surged to 10 million as of 2022, compared to just 130,000 in 2012. 

EVs stand as the vanguard of the green movement due to their ability to help reduce emissions and, therefore, a cleaner environment overall. However, the widespread adoption of EVs and successful continuation of the movement will require the further advancement of automotive technology and the support of a robust and fully operational EV charging infrastructure. 

The current EV charging station infrastructure in the United States has experienced growing pains. While there are currently 138,100 EV charging stations across the country—a number on par with gas stations in the US—the uptime, maintenance, and operability of these EV charging stations are greatly subpar. Although finding a charging station is much easier, there is no guarantee it will be in working order. Where once EV users reported range anxiety was keeping them from going all in on EV use, they are now shifting to charging anxiety. 


EV testing equipment.

EV testing equipment. Image used courtesy of Adobe Stock


Trust in the current EV charging infrastructure is waning, even as the government pledges to build 500,000 new charging stations by 2030. A recent JD Power report found 20.8% of EV drivers ran across charging station failures, and another study conducted in the San Francisco Bay area found nearly one-quarter of charging stations were not operational. 

The appeal of EVs is clear, and people are interested in driving them. However, ongoing issues with the EV charging infrastructure threaten to bring EV adoption to a screeching halt.


The Crucial Role of Certified Technicians

Solving the ongoing problems related to EV charging stations will require meticulous planning and a focus on education. Certified electric vehicle service equipment technicians stand at the forefront of improving charging, playing a crucial role in the ongoing adoption of EVs and the operability of the current and future infrastructure. 

Traditional electricians, and even IT professionals, have sometimes been tapped to help fix mechanical, electrical, or network issues plaguing the nation’s charging stations. The problem with this solution is the lack of specific skills necessary to support and maintain new EV technology. 

While EV charging stations utilize an immense amount of electricity, their operations are complex, involving cybersecurity needs, network connectivity concerns, and payment system operation. Although electricians or IT professionals may be able to provide cursory support for the infrastructure, a more specifically trained workforce is necessary to meet the industry’s overwhelming needs.

Certified EVSE technicians bring that specialized knowledge and expertise to the table. They possess a deep understanding of electrical systems or IT networks—depending on their background—and regulations, safety protocols, and proper installation of charging station structures. The operations and maintenance market for EVs is still an emerging industry growing by leaps and bounds due to the ongoing demand for EV adoption. 

In addition to improving EV charging station uptime, certified EVSE technicians play a pivotal role in ensuring compliance with ever-evolving regulations and industry best practices. As a relatively new industry, these best practices and guidelines constantly shift as we learn about technology, the environment, and how to build better vehicles. This rapid expansion and evolution of EV technology has made safety protocols paramount. Certified technicians undergo rigorous training to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in safety and regulatory compliance, safeguarding end-users of the charging stations and the overall future of EV use.


EV charger intstallation

EV charger intstallation. Image used courtesy of Adobe Stock


Certified technicians and electricians are adept at installation, compliance, and troubleshooting — all vital to maintaining complex EV charging systems and their various components, such as the charging units, electrical panels, and communication interfaces. These technicians can also quickly diagnose issues, perform repairs, and optimize the performance of the charging station, improving uptime and helping quell overwhelming charging anxiety held by EV drivers.

Certified EVSE technicians play a vital role in meeting the goals of the US government and many state governments in expanding the EV charging infrastructure. Simply building more charging stations is not enough, however, as they will require a more technically inclined, available workforce to support them and keep them in proper working order. 


New EV Certifications Available 

Comprehensive education and skill-building resources must be made available to electrical and non-electrical professionals to introduce the workforce needed to the EV space. If the right skills are acquired, there is a significant opportunity for more jobs and heightened potential for user adoption, thereby increasing earning potential within the EV market. 

Perhaps someone has experience with battery-powered systems or in the electrical space, but they do not have the necessary credentials to work on EV charging systems. Approaches to education need to offer the skill-building essential to meet the credential requirements established by the electrical industry. 

An industry-first EVSE Diagnostic Technician certification offers professionals more ways to further their EV careers and up-level their skills. The skill-building and education provided by this program and others like it must include real-world exposure to EV charging systems and the various networks and training on what sets this work apart from traditional electrical work or IT maintenance work. 


Disassembling an EV battery engine

Disassembling an EV battery engine. Image used courtesy of Adobe Stock


Once workers are certified, a network should be available, so once there is a need, those certified workers can be tapped for these important positions. This will keep the EV charging network from languishing in downtime as the search continues for certified, specialized technicians. 

The EV and EV-adjacent job outlook will experience significant growth in the next few years, reaching a 21% employment increase from 2021 to 2031. To meet the demands and forecasts, the industry will require 80,000 additional EV technicians/electricians each year.

The crucial role of certified EVSE technicians cannot be overstated. As our governments and green energy champions push for wider EV adoption, skilled technicians will serve as the linchpin of the EV industry’s progress, ensuring reliable and efficient operation of the charging infrastructure nationwide.

The EV boom has triggered a workforce shift, opening up new opportunities for electrical and non-electrical professionals, and all signs pointing to the EV revolution revving up in the coming years. With comprehensive education and access to skill-building opportunities, professionals can step forward to fill needed positions in the EV charging station maintenance and operation space, supporting the infrastructure and bettering the chance for wider EV adoption.