More Certified Electricians Required for EV Charging Station Maintenance

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Amid a global push for sustainability, the move toward the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) marks a significant milestone in the “Green Revolution.” Many major vehicle manufacturers, such as Dodge and Kia, are committed to phasing out gas-powered vehicles in the next decade and several states including California, New Jersey and Delaware are also entertaining a phase-out of gasoline-powered vehicles.

The uptake of EVs has skyrocketed, with new sales surging to over 10 million vehicles as of 2022. When comparing this to the relatively paltry sales of 130,000 vehicles in 2012, it’s easy to see that EVs are well-positioned to lead the charge into a more climate-conscious future.

In the quest for environmental preservation, EVs offer reduced emissions and the promise of a cleaner atmosphere. However, for this early momentum to be sustained, it is essential to not only advance automotive technology but also to support the EV charging infrastructure that keeps the EVs running.

Proponents of EV technology have promised an entirely new job market that comes with widespread EV adoption. As we continue to build towards a cleaner future for transportation, it is becoming evident that this new job market will need to include professionals specialized in EV charging maintenance.

Charging Infrastructure Issue

In the United States, the current EV charging infrastructure has encountered its share of challenges. Although the country boasts a commendable 138,100 current charging stations — nearly equivalent to the number of gas stations in the United States — studies show that the uptime, reliability and maintenance of these existing charging stations leave something to be desired.

While those who purchase an EV may have less trouble finding a charging station than they would have in the past, there is no guarantee that the charging station they find will be in working order. As a result, the “range anxiety” that many early EV drivers once had has now turned to “charging anxiety,” as drivers fear that they will not be able to access reliable charging stations along their routes.

Even though the Biden Administration has included an additional 500,000 charging stations to be built under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law by 2030, the issue of reliability may persist if there are not enough skilled and specially trained technicians to install and maintain the infrastructure going forward. Without paying attention to the need for support for the existing and planned stations, the problem with charging stations’ reliability could bring the EV revolution to a standstill.

Certified Technicians in the EV Charging Space

Addressing the obvious challenges with the EV charging infrastructure demands a strategic approach. The EV space has created thousands of new jobs and many of these positions are designed to deal directly with buoying the existing and future charging network.

At the heart of the effort to improve charging reliability and efficiency are certified electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) technicians. If the EV charging infrastructure is going to keep pace with rampant EV adoption, there will need to be specially trained technicians to support the hardware and software associated with the charging stations.

Until very recently, the job of supporting charging stations fell to traditional electricians or IT professionals, yet these workers had not been specifically trained in EV charging technology, nor had they gained certifications in EV-specific areas. No matter how skilled these workers may have been, this lack of specific skill training has significantly contributed to the efficiency and reliability gaps found within the current infrastructure.

Though they utilize an immense amount of electricity, EV charging stations have complex, interwoven systems that involve needs that stretch far beyond basic electrical knowledge. Thus, technicians should not only have electrical expertise but also knowledge of cybersecurity systems, safety protocols that are EV charging station specific and proper installation of the charging stations themselves. While operations and maintenance (O&M) is still an emerging job market, it shows signs of significant growth if EV adoption continues at its current pace.

Certified EVSE technicians not only play a role in keeping EV charging stations up and running but are also leaders in regulatory compliance and maintaining industry standards. Given that the EV industry is in its relative infancy, these regulations and standards are in constant flux. Having specifically trained professionals leading the way as the industry grows will ensure safety and a robust workforce that is up-to-date on all developments concerning EVs.

The introduction of highly skilled EVSE technicians into the industry will help calm the “charging anxiety” that many EV drivers face when dealing with the current charging infrastructure. They play a significant role in meeting governmental and global goals for sustainability while forging a path toward a new job market with near-endless possibilities for growth.

Workforce Development in the EV Space

To create this new skilled workforce and support the struggling EV charging network, both electrical and non-electrical professionals must be given a pathway to comprehensive EV-specific skill-building, education and credentialing. With the right skills, certified technicians will have opportunities for job growth and expanded earning potential. According to statistics, the EV and EV-related job market is projected to grow 21% by 2031, requiring an additional 80,000 EV technicians each year to meet demand.

As our government and other global leaders champion the need for sustainable transportation, specifically trained professionals will be indispensable. While erecting more charging stations is a step in the right direction, without the professionals needed to support the influx of new stations, the adoption of EVs is likely to plummet.

When we look at the numbers, it seems a future EV boom is becoming more of a certainty that is triggering a workforce shift, where specially skilled technicians will be called upon to help spearhead innovations in the EV market while supporting EV charging infrastructure. With a focus on comprehensive, updated education and certification pathways, professionals with these needed skills can step up and fill the roles necessary to make the EV charging infrastructure reliable once more — paving the way for further EV adoption.

With over 13 years of experience in the solar, electric vehicle (EV) and renewable energy industries, Rue Phillips is a visionary investor, entrepreneur and expert who has founded or led several successful companies in the cleantech space. He was the founder and president of 365 Pronto, the world's first platform to match cleantech asset owners with a local and on-demand installation and service workforce, enabling faster, safer and more efficient deployment and maintenance of clean energy and mobility solutions.

Rue is currently president and co-founder of SkillFusion, a digital customer service platform for training, certification and compliance of Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Electricians, Technicians and EV-ComTechs.

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