IMI calls on government to back training of technicians on electric vehicles
The government must incentivise and support businesses to
invest in the training of technicians to work on electric vehicles, according
to the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI).
Only around 3% of all vehicle technicians were currently
qualified to work safely on electrified vehicles - the vast majority of whom
worked in manufacturers’ franchised dealerships.
What’s more, according to the IMI’s new analysis, Clean Air
Zones were failing to deliver on electric car targets, with a national average
of eight electric cars per charging point across the UK. London, it said, was
the only UK city on target for electric vehicle adoption.
The IMI says it has found “serious gaps” in the
infrastructure to support the government’s target of ending the sale of new
vehicles with petrol or diesel internal combustion engines as their only source
of propulsion from 2040, with some MPs lobbying for an earlier introduction
date of 2032 - which has already been mandated by the Scottish Parliament.
Disappointingly, said the IMI, the UK’s ultra-low emission
cities were in a race to catch up with demand after failing so far to deliver a
Sales of electrified vehicles, including full electric and
plug-in hybrid, are estimated to exceed one million on UK roads by 2020. But
there were currently only 18,000 charging points across 6,500 locations. As a result,
the IMI has called on government to invest more money on a reliable and
In a statement, the IMI said that it believed government
must also focus its attention on the sustainability of the businesses who were
servicing and repairing plug-in vehicles.
The statement said: “Currently, as demand for electrified
vehicles continues to increase, there is going to be a serious short-fall in adequately
trained technicians - especially as some of the Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid
vehicles already on the UK’s roads start to change hands and the owners look
beyond the franchised dealer networks to find cost effective service and
“With so few technicians in the independent service and
repair sector qualified or equipped to work safely on the high-voltage systems
of electrified vehicles, the IMI is working with government to establish
national standards which comply with Health and Safety Executive requirements
and meet the employer’s responsibilities under the Electricity at Work
Steve Nash, chief executive at the IMI, said: “The recently
published sales figures for electric and hybrid vehicles demonstrate that
drivers are rapidly making the transition away from pure petrol/diesel engines.
However it’s vital that government recognises the new skills requirements
needed to underpin the successful move to this new technology - which is
entirely different to the skills required to service and repair internal
“Without appropriate training vehicle
technicians are at risk of serious harm or even death and employers may be in
breach of health and safety regulations. Government must incentivise and
support businesses to invest in the training of their staff if they are to have
the knowledge and skills to safely work on or around high voltage vehicle
systems and technology.”