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Should mechanics need to hold an electrician licence to repair EVs?

The Electric Vehicle Council (EVC) is advising against a proposed regulation change in Queensland that would mandate mechanics working on electric vehicles (EVs) to possess a full electrician license, arguing that such measures are unwarranted and would be globally unique to Queensland. They highlight concerns that this additional requirement, which would involve completing a four-year electrician apprenticeship, would create significant bottlenecks in EV servicing and could lead manufacturers to prioritize other states with less stringent regulations, thus limiting the availability of EV services in Queensland.

The Queensland Electrical Safety Office (ESO) recently released a discussion paper proposing options for regulating EV maintenance. The EVC opposes Option 2, which would require mechanics to obtain electrical licensing for working on EVs, emphasizing that the current regulatory framework, supplemented by self-regulation and workplace safety measures, has effectively managed safety in EV maintenance so far. They argue against imposing burdensome licensing requirements, pointing out that there have been no incidents of electrocution in workshops related to EV maintenance in Australia.

The EVC suggests that if regulatory changes are deemed necessary, a practical alternative to a four-year apprenticeship would be the introduction of a short “upskill” license similar to that obtained by plumbers for working on electric hot water services. This approach would provide mechanics with the necessary safety knowledge without requiring extensive training. They urge for a robust, evidence-based review process to identify any safety-related shortcomings in the existing arrangements and to ensure that any regulatory changes are pragmatic and promote the widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

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