Electric car sales already are in a funk in key markets around the globe. Challenges finding enough repair technicians threatens to further stifle demand in the U.K., where consumer uptake has stagnated for the better part of two years.

A dearth of mechanics trained to handle the most advanced EV fixes is helping to drive up repair costs, according to insurers and repair companies like the AA, which provides roadside assistance across the U.K. Add in expenses like long wait times for replacement parts, and underwriters are opting to total cars with relatively benign damage — prematurely consigning electric models to the junk heap.

A seemingly simple crash that damages the battery or the compartment housing it "can cause a complete write-off of the vehicle,” said Marco Distefano, managing director of insurer Axa SA’s U.K. retail division. "Ultimately, that pushes up the price of insurance.”