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Amidst the rise of electric vehicles entering the global fleet, New Zealand’s Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is launching a new programme for mechanics and engineers.

The New Zealand Certificate in Electric Vehicle Automotive Engineering (Level 5) is designed for experienced automotive engineering technicians who want to advance in or enter the electric vehicle industry.

Through the programme mechanics will build their skills and knowledge for diagnosing, repairing, and maintaining electric and hybrid vehicles.

Like any other vehicle EV’s and hybrids still require special care and maintenance from mechanics. With over 32,700 electric vehicles on NZ roads in late 2021 the need for EV specific training and knowledge as increased and will continue to do so.

The number of EVs is expected to grow steadily after the Government’s various legislation changes, including electric vehicles rebates of up to $8000, and that electric vehicles are exempt from paying road user charges until 2024.

The course is designed for experienced automotive technicians and aims to create support and opportunities for the local mechanics within a still developing EV industry.

“The big franchises are able to handle their own, but this programme is about supporting wider industry, especially our local mum and dad shops,” senior automotive lecturer Lance Funnell said.

“A lot of garages are a bit nervous around EVs. They want to do a great job, but the setup is quite different.

“Otago Polytechnic developed the programme and have had great success with it over the last two years.

“We’ve had strong interest already. Apprentices are telling us that it’s really cool to be able to learn this, and their bosses are just as pleased to get these kinds of skills in their team.”