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November 09, 2023

Driving Sustainability: The Role of Certified Professionals in EV Charging Maintenance

According to studies, the electric vehicle (EV) market has surged in the last decade and is projected to grow exponentially, reaching nearly $1.58 trillion by 2030. With this tremendous growth, there is a need for EV service equipment, parts, and certified EV professionals for maintenance of not only the vehicles themselves, but also the charging infrastructure.

In 2010, there were barely 4,000 EV charging stations available worldwide, compared to the approximately 3 million currently available today. This growth has paved the way for a new generation of professionals who service the EV market on every level.

The EV charger maintenance problem

With the rise in popularity of electric vehicles, there has been a keener eye trained on the charging infrastructure—and in many ways, it has been found lacking. According to a report by Autoweek, many EV owners are frustrated with the state of public charging infrastructure nationwide. There have been reports of finding many charging stations inoperable, and there is a shortage of professionals qualified or certified to maintain and fix the stations.

It’s a problem that accomplished cleantech entrepreneur Rue Phillips took notice of. “There has been a growing demand for skilled workers in the industry,” he explains. “The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program is working to fund a large-scale deployment of EV charging infrastructure across the country, which is required to maintain a 97% operational uptime. This is a tall order, in and of itself.”

While the government is aiming high with operational uptime expectations, Phillips saw an opportunity to help the powers-that-be hit their lofty goal—and improve the issue of charger maintenance and uptime overall.

Phillips and his team recently launched SkillFusion, a revolutionary platform whose mission is to improve electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) uptime by aligning skilled professionals with the precise expertise and training necessary for each task. The new platform ensures that the proper professional performs the right job—every single time.

“The skilled labor shortage already affecting operations and maintenance creates unprecedented stress on the industry unless we can train and certify more workers,” Phillips explains.

Helping drive sustainability

The EV market seems well-positioned to acquire a significant portion of the auto market if statistics are to be believed, with some studies projecting that EVs will surpass two-thirds of global car sales by 2030. While most EV drivers report being very satisfied with their car purchase and would purchase an EV again, the ongoing issues with charging station reliability, maintenance, and uptime are concerning for EV owners and those interested in buying an EV soon.

“The demand for certified experts capable of maintaining the charging infrastructure has never been more critical,” says Phillips. Whether due to the faster-than-expected rise of the EV market or a gap in training and certification, many who have been tapped to maintain and uphold the charging infrastructure in the past may have been trained electricians, but lacked the necessary specific skills and expertise in the EV space.

What is necessary in the future, if the EV revolution is to thrive and lead to a more sustainable future, will be innovative pathways to skill building for EV professionals. By training these individuals in this specific area and seamlessly integrating them into the workforce, the infrastructure could be vastly improved and buoy the growing EV market.

Phillips sees SkillFusion as a way to define the scope and capacity of a highly-trained EV service technician. “We are ready to lead this ‘electrifying’ change in the industry,” says Phillips. “The ultimate goal is to minimize downtime and support our EV charger customers to meet the expectations of the EV-loving public.”

Changing the view of charging reliability

According to a recent JD Power survey, EV charging is still a “huge mess.” The availability and reliability of public charging stations is still dependent on a maintenance industry that has not been up to the task of meeting rapidly expanding need and demand. Just as with the advent of other world-altering technologies—the railroads, the industrial revolution, and computers, to name a few—a highly-trained, specialized group of professionals will likely be the change-makers in the industry.

With the Biden Administration spearheading the installation of 500,000 new EV charging stations across the US by 2030, the need for certified professionals in charger maintenance has never been greater. The public is on board with the sustainable path that EVs are taking us on. As the popularity and adoption of electric vehicles grow, the role of certified maintenance professionals must grow on par if we expect the intended results of sustainable technology.

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