Where are auto repair shops headed in the electric-car age?

Join a community conversation on ‘Volts and Bolts’ Sept. 29.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot of Packsize in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, July 6, 2022. Electric cars will come to dominate American roads in the next decade, and The Salt Lake Tribune and Rocky Mountain Power and Weber State University are hosting a community conversation Sept. 29 on what it means for auto shops and mechanics.

This story is part of The Salt Lake Tribune’s ongoing commitment to identify solutions to Utah’s biggest challenges through the work of the Innovation Lab.

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The milestones on the road to electric vehicles are starting to pass quickly.

All-electric Tesla will sell 50 percent more cars in 2022 than in 2021. No other car manufacturer will come close to that growth. By 2024, there will be 134 different models of electric or plug-in hybrid cars available in the U.S. And General Motors will stop producing gasoline-fueled cars in 2035, the same year that California will ban them.

What does this mean to the people who have been servicing cars? One hundred years of transportation has been built on the internal combustion engine, and a century of expertise was built with it.

But over the next decade, piston engines will slowly vanish. The crankcases will be replaced by electric motors.

On Sept. 29, The Salt Lake Tribune, Rocky Mountain Power and Weber State University will host “Volts and Bolts,” a community conversation, on the electric vehicle rollout and the implications for the automotive technology industry. The 90-minute conversation will include a panel of educators and other experts. A livestream will be hosted at sltrib.com.

The conversation will begin at 4 p.m. in Building D2, room 110 on Weber State’s Layton campus. Weber’s Automotive Technology department is teaching the next generation of mechanics. Weber has recently rolled out certification programs for working on electric and hybrid vehicles.

And a livestream of the event will be available at sltrib.com.

The event is free, but RSVPs are encouraged at bit.ly/tribunevoltsandbolts.

Tim Fitzpatrick is The Salt Lake Tribune’s renewable energy reporter, a position funded by a grant from Rocky Mountain Power. The Tribune retains all control over editorial decisions independent of Rocky Mountain Power.