Ever since Seb Frances began his light vehicle apprenticeship through MITO, his career goal was clear: he wanted to be known as the ‘EV guy’.

“I’ve been interested in electric things since I was a kid,” he says. “I was playing with remote control cars and planes back when I was 12, and that’s what really sparked it.” Pair that with a love of car racing, and a career specialising in EVs made perfect sense for Seb.

Now a qualified automotive technician and working at Thomsen Automotive, Petone, Seb is loving being part of a workshop where he can grow his EV knowledge. Forward-thinking and modern, Thomsen Automotive pride themselves on their strong focus on EV technology and are interested in minimising the environmental impact caused by running a workshop.

2020 MITO Alumni - Electric Vehicle scholarship recipient Seb Frances

Alongside Thomsen Automotive Owner David Thomsen, Seb enjoys working for a company whose values and ethics align with his own. “As I get older, I find myself increasingly conscious of all kinds of social and environmental issues,” he says. “It’s nice to work somewhere that understands the importance of those things.”

Seb is excited about the opportunity to develop his EV knowledge and skills and sees the training as invaluable to the business. “Completing this qualification will allow Thomsen Automotive to expand the range of EV related services we can offer,” Seb explains. “It will take us from being an ‘EV friendly’ workshop to being an ‘EV expert’ workshop – we are eager to cement our position as one of the original EV specialist workshops.”

It’s not surprising that when the opportunity arose for Seb to apply for a 2020 MITO Alumni – Electric Vehicle scholarship, he jumped at the chance to earn a formal qualification specialising in the industry he’s most passionate about. The scholarship, which covers the programme fee of the New Zealand Certificate in Electric Vehicle Automotive Engineering (Level 5), was a welcome surprise. “Since I began my apprenticeship, I had been asking my MITO Industry Training Advisor when a specialised EV qualification would be available. I definitely would have paid to do it, but with the scholarship I didn’t have to! I was rapt with that.”

Seb’s passion for electric vehicles extends outside of work hours. In his spare time, he’s working on building an EV race car from scratch. “The build is going really well,” he says. “It’s been test driven and is now awaiting a new, lightweight battery pack made of Leopard Power cells supplied by Hobby Hangar to replace the very heavy test pack!”

“In terms of the future, I’m keen to finish this Level 5 qualification and see what happens from there,” says Seb. “The EV industry is a hard one to predict, so we will just continue doing whatever additional training we can and be prepared for how the workload may develop in the coming years.”

From speaking with Seb, his commitment to the industry is obvious. “I honestly don’t think you’ll find another mechanic more passionate about EVs than I am,” he laughs. “I’m fully invested in EVs being the future of transport.”

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