Jaguar Land Rover sets out to train workers, dealers for EV world

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LONDON — Jaguar Land Rover will retrain 29,000 employees and staff at retailers globally over the next three years to design, build and service electric vehicles ahead of its shift away from fossil-fuel cars.

JLR said the majority of technicians at its retailers should receive training on servicing EVs during this financial year to “tackle emerging skills gaps.”

The shift to EVs means automakers need to provide fresh skills to workers trained to build and service fossil-fuel models. There are widespread concerns that fewer moving parts in EVs could mean fewer well-paid manufacturing jobs in the auto industry, especially in engine or transmission plants.

JLR said it would retrain “thousands of highly skilled automotive engineers and production employees, who previously worked on the development of internal combustion cars, to specialize in electrification, digital and autonomous cars.”

EV sales have risen sharply in Europe over the last two years and looming fossil-fuel car bans mean more are coming.

JLR has previously said that Jaguar, the smaller of its two brands, will be entirely electric by 2025, while Land Rover will get its first fully electric model in 2024.

JLR has developed its own training materials in cooperation with the University of Coventry and the University of Warwick.

“Plant employees at all levels will require training to ensure they can work safely alongside the high voltage systems,” JLR said.

Karl “Freddy” Gunnarsson, an engineer who worked at JLR on diesel and gasoline catalytic converters, has already retrained and is working on a team dedicated to increasing EV battery density to maximize vehicle range.

“This (EV range) is what we are going to be competing on, Gunnarsson said. “So, on this side of the business you can feel the excitement all the way up to the CEO.”

JLR has struggled in recent months as semiconductor shortages have hit deliveries of its luxury SUVs and sports cars.

Automakers around the world have been working to re-skill workers as they ramp up electrification plans. In July, Mercedes-Benz Group  said it would spend more than $1.25 billion on training staff through 2030.

Bloomberg contributed to this report

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