As Singapore heads into an EV future, these techs are preparing for change

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ENTHUSIASM FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES

And with electric vehicles at the forefront of the national push towards a greener future, Mr. Isa isn’t the only one looking to up his game.

James Rayappan, automotive technical manager at Strides Mobility and a self-proclaimed electric vehicle enthusiast, will benefit from another memorandum of understanding signed by LTA last month.

The memorandum of understanding, signed with 21 organizations, including Strides Mobility, will develop training opportunities for new and existing automotive technicians like Mr. Rayappan to support the adoption of electric vehicles.

A new national-level certification program will be established to recognize automotive technicians who have completed these courses and successfully achieved the required skills, LTA said.

The certification, which is recognized by all parties to the memorandum of understanding, will allow technicians to follow additional specialized training in the maintenance of electric vehicles.

But even before training under the memorandum of understanding takes off, Mr. Rayappan, who this month celebrates 20 years with Strides Mobility, is already sold on electric vehicles.

“Electric vehicles are very, very different. Last time we (worked with) petrol and diesel. (But for EVs) it’s different because no motor, fully electric. So I’m impressed because my hand isn’t dirty either. The electric vehicle is easier and cleaner to maintain,” the 41-year-old told CNA.

Having worked on EVs for about a year, he also regularly scours social media for the latest EV trends. He has also undergone training in electric vehicle maintenance, as well as annual courses to refresh his skills.

Compared to “traditional motors”, there are “no need to do so many steps” to solve problems with EVs, Mr. Rayappan said.

“Now I want to learn something (new) on my own. If, say, I don’t know something (about) the VE, I’ll (watch) YouTube (to see) how to fix… what’s the problem, everything.

When he learned that Strides was planning to replace its fleet of taxis with electric vehicles, his interest was piqued.

“I want to upgrade. So it’s not like the old (type of world) anymore… The world wants to go from gasoline to EVs. I also want to change,” he said.

When asked why he was not afraid to take on a new challenge to improve his skills, Mr. Rayappan replied that it was a matter of trying.

“First, never make mistakes, can’t learn. Must make a mistake then can correct. If, say, I’m scared, I (will not) sit in front of you (to be interviewed). Therefore, try everything.

Acquiring EV skills is also a future-proof strategy for keeping your job.

“Nowadays all new models (of cars), like Tesla, MG, cars from China, all electric. … (Technicians are) not technicians; they are more like electricians,” a- he added.

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