Electricians and the growth of the electric car industry

Continued momentum in EV adoption rates in the United States will require robust, reliable charging infrastructure where EV drivers live, work, play, and travel. One industry sector important to the construction and reliability of that network is electricians. But are electricity companies ready to lead the charge?

Electricians are directly involved in EV charger installation, pre-wiring, and electrical upgrades, as well as the maintenance and repair of EV chargers. As electric vehicle sales continue to increase, the need for residential and commercial charging stations is also increasing, as is the demand for electricians. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects nearly 80,000 job openings for electricians each year through 2030. To succeed in transportation electrification, electricians must have the right skills and resources, including certifications, access to financing, information, and greater connections in all areas. across the industry. .

Federal initiatives provide focus and funding

Growing the clean energy workforce is a primary focus of the Biden administration’s Investing in America agenda, and the funding is pouring in. In January 2024, the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation allocated $46.5 million from the bipartisan Infrastructure Act for projects focused on improving electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including nearly $9 million in transportation electrification workforce development initiatives.

While the impact of these programs may not be realized immediately, increased resources and awareness surrounding EV charging at the federal level translates into opportunities for electricians, including new businesses and established companies.

Advances in the electric vehicle industry inspire new business models

Justin Mauch, founder of Effortless Electric, has turned his enthusiasm for the emerging electric vehicle industry into a business opportunity. Mauch was inspired to launch his company in the Washington, D.C., metro area after speaking with new EV owners and realizing the need for a convenient, informed, and comprehensive process for selecting, purchasing, and installing home chargers. Effortless Electric focuses exclusively on electric vehicle chargers, which were initially just residential installations but now include commercial facilities.

“As with any new industry, electric vehicle charging brings its own challenges. But we are handling them the best we can, and I am excited about what lies ahead,” Mauch said.

Mauch stated that the biggest obstacles facing electric companies today are the looming labor shortage and lack of education for recruits. Effortless Electric prioritizes growth in the number of trained employees and leveraging local mentorship and electrical training programs for continuing education. Mauch also recognizes the unique opportunity to develop team members into not only skilled electricians but also industry experts. Electricians who perform electrical upgrades and install EV chargers are in a position to educate customers about EVs and charging, address misconceptions and set up new EV drivers for success. Effortless Electric supports its team by sharing educational articles and training courses from our charger vendor partners and staying up to date on the latest products and features.

The importance of networks

Edson Hillier, owner of EH Electric & HVAC LLC in Waltham, Massachusetts, recognizes the value of relationships in his expansion into the electric vehicle market. Hillier has served the Boston area for two decades, and with the advent of electric vehicles, he made it his mission to understand where his business might be headed.

“I’ve been planting the seeds of electric vehicles with customers since 2010,” Hillier said. “Many have called back to inquire about EV charger installations.”

To prepare for the demand he anticipated, Hillier became certified through the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program, which helps electricians gain a comprehensive understanding of the electric vehicle charging installation process. EVITP is supported by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, of which Hilaire is a member through IBEW Local 103.

Perhaps most influential on his future in the electric vehicle charging industry was Hillier’s involvement with the Massachusetts Black Economic Council. In addition to the professional network he developed and the knowledge he gained through BECMA, EH Electric & HVAC received a small grant to help the company purchase the necessary tools and equipment. Given the lack of access to capital for many small businesses, especially minority-owned businesses, anything helps.

To bring things full circle, Hillier finds time to connect with high school students about the electrical career as they begin to chart and navigate their career paths, something he finds extremely rewarding.

The role of utilities in supporting electricians

Utilities are positioned to help support the local market, leveraging the strong relationships utilities maintain with their business allies, including electricians. For example, Seattle City Light’s Electric Vehicle Charging Installation Program supports minority-owned businesses to gain the skills and certifications needed to install charging infrastructure. Key aspects of the program include helping businesses secure Women- and Minority-Owned Business Enterprise and EVITP certifications to enhance business credibility and exposure and provide access to a broader network of customers, contracts and resources, as well as enhancing the efficiency of electric vehicle charger installation. Of the participants.

In addition to covering the EVITP certification fee, the program ensures smooth navigation through the certification process, with staff enhancing critical communications for quick responses to requests. The program is also designed to give companies the opportunity to bid on suitable projects based on skills and capabilities. Another example is ComEd’s Take Charge: EV Pre-Apprenticeship Program, a partnership between the utility and HIRE360, a nonprofit organization. The paid internship program provides participants with an introduction to the electric vehicle charging industry and helps them transition into local apprenticeships through IBEW Local 134.

The road ahead is full of challenges, but full of opportunities and excitement from electricians, utilities and other stakeholders in the transition to electric vehicles. Through education, mentorship and funding, electricians are increasingly well positioned to play a major role in our electric vehicle-centric future.

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