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Electric vehicle maintenance program to launch at three schools this fall

New program will help red seal mechanics get certified to work on electric vehicles
Bruce Ralston, minister of energy, mines and low carbon innovation, announces a new EV maintenance training program at Cloverdale’s KPU campus March 15. Mike Starchuk, MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale (right) also spoke about the new initiative that will launch at three trade schools in B.C. this fall. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

A new electric vehicle maintenance program is coming to three trade schools in B.C.

An electric vehicle (EV) maintenance training program will soon be launched at Cloverdale’s Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) campus, at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, and at Cranbrook’s College of the Rockies.

Bruce Ralston, minister of energy, mines and low carbon innovation, was at KPU in Cloverdale March 15, to announce the new program.

“As the number of electric vehicles increases, people will obviously need to have their vehicles serviced and this course will help train more red seal mechanics,” Ralston said.

He added the six-day course will expand an already expanding EV maintenance training initiative across B.C. He said it will also mean more people will be trained to fill what is an ever-increasing need as EV vehicle sales increase from year to year.

“We’re supporting the growing popularity of electric vehicles by helping auto technicians develop the skills they need to work on EVs in service centres across B.C.,” said Ralston. “The expansion of the EV Maintenance Training program will help grow our EV sector and make it even easier for British Columbians to make the switch to an EV, putting us on the road to a cleaner, better future.”

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Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Mike Starchuk was also on hand for the announcement.

“As we move into zero-emission vehicles, people need to know they’ll be able to access mechanics that can do the maintenance,” said Starchuk. “Setting up this program here allows mechanics in Surrey and the surrounding areas to easily access this course and to become certified.”

Starchuk said there are two pinch points that deter people from buying electric cars, one is the concern over battery capacity and charging stations—which he said is getting solved as more charging stations are added around the province—and two is the concerns around vehicle maintenance and the consternation some may have about access to qualified and trained mechanics.

“Gone are the days of Charlie Cherry on King George Highway in Newton where you pull in there and he says, ‘Oh, I’ve seen that before. I can fix it.’ This is high-tech stuff in so many ways.”

Dr. Joel Murray, associate dean, faculty of trades and technology at KPU, said the new EV course for red seal mechanics will likely start in the fall of 2022.

“The future of transportation and the resulting reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia lies in the electrification of vehicles,” Murray said. “KPU is proud to have been chosen to participate in this pilot to prepare automotive technicians for the low-carbon economy.”

The first EV training program for red seal mechanics was launched at BCIT in 2019. That program was expanded in 2021 to include Okanagan College, College of New Caledonia, and Camosun College.

Pilot training programs are expected to start at all three schools in fall 2022.

The new initiative is being launched in partnership with Trades Training B.C. and is part of the government’s CleanBC Go Electric program.

CleanBC Go Electric requires automakers to increase availability of EVs so that EV sales and leases reach 26 per cent of by 2026, 90 per cent by 2030, and 100 per cent by 2035.

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Malin Jordan

About the Author: Malin Jordan

Malin is the editor of the Cloverdale Reporter.
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