Comment: Enthusiastic engineering

It’s been interesting to see the shift in public perception of electric vehicles and, in fact, other advanced technologies that have been introduced to make our vehicles safer, cleaner and more reliable.

Go back a few years and there were countless dissenting voices concerned about what would happen to the industry in the wake of ‘everyone driving around in EVs’. But, whether through apathy or a general acceptance of the vehicles and technologies that have come down the line, many of the individuals opposed have seemingly been convinced it is the way forward.

At the Commercial Vehicle Show, there might have been a lack of truck manufacturer stands, but in their place was a large area of the main hall featuring their next-generation products. Visitors were, as a result, given an opportunity to get up close with the vehicles and speak to people who had first-hand experience of running them on a fleet. Elsewhere, there were stands with solutions and systems to help operators with their future (electrified) fleet requirements.

The new Volvo FH Aero didn’t make it to Birmingham, but we’ve been behind the wheel of the new larger big Swede and the reports are largely positive (read all about it on p10). And that feedback is what is required if the transport sector is really serious about attracting young or new technicians into the industry. Future generations live and breathe technology, so the best way to get them onboard in engineering is to showcase the latest powertrains and advances – and talk and teach with enthusiasm about the future. Surely that’s much better than obvious resentment and a yearning for ‘the good old days’?

Away from the vehicles, workshops have been – and will continue to be – transformed, given the investments required to maintain, service and generally look after electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. There are clearly going to be challenges, not least in the costs involved, but also in the time required to learn a new way of fleet management. But, again, this period of change should be seen as one of opportunity for technicians of all ages to learn new skills.

By John Challen

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