As a wave of electric vehicles approaches, industry experts ponder that it could wash away a large portion of a skilled labor group that has been around for decades — the neighborhood auto mechanic.
Unlike gas-powered engines, electric engines don’t require oil changes, have far fewer moving parts and rarely break down, eliminating much of the maintenance that repair shops rely on. The latest electric vehicles can be serviced using parts purchased online or fixed remotely through over-the-air updates.
The U.S. auto repair industry employs about 750,000 workers, nearly four times the number of people employed by the coal-mining industry. Though they are increasingly skilled and tech-savvy, many experts say, they are not prepared for the end of gas-powered transportation.
Electric vehicles require no traditional oil changes, fuel filters, spark plug replacements or emission checks. In most cases, there is no changing timing belts, differential fluid and transmission fluid. Brake pad replacements are less frequent because regenerative braking returns energy to the battery, reducing wear on mechanical brakes because they’re used less.
Repair bills for EVs are projected to be lower and less frequent than gas vehicles.
When parts are required they can often be purchased online for less than $20, and easily installed by the owner.
An owner of a Nissan Leaf, Ron Swanson, reported that in the six years he has owned the vehicle, he has had his tires rotated and an air filter replaced, spending less than $50.