The Institute of the Motor Industry has called upon the Government to invest in training mechanics to carry out work on high voltage/ultra-low emissions vehicles.
According to the IMI, a shocking 1% of mechanics in the UK have the correct qualifications allowing them to work on these vehicles, and the majority are employed by franchised dealers rather than being employed by independent garages or being independent traders themselves.
IMI CEO Steve Nash said: “Millions of tax payers cash spent on charging points will be wasted if the Government won’t help independent garages and wider industry keep up with the switch to electric. It’s not rocket science. Small businesses are uncertain about future demand for work on electrified cars and won’t risk investing in the skills they need without help from the Government.
“The Government has recognised the most obvious barrier to consumers buying electric cars, which is the charging infrastructure, and it is taking direct steps to address this. However, it needs to recognise that this is the biggest change in the automotive industry for over 100 years and there are other barriers that must be addressed too, not least the skills gap.”
Writing in the IMI Magazine, motor technology guru, James Dillon, has predicted the upcoming VED changes will hamper diesels and see a rise in consumers opting for hybrid and electric vehicles. On the issue of garages being underprepared, Dillon said: "Aftermarket garages should prepare for the potential shift in automotive power sources. Upskilling to be able to service and repair hybrids and EVs should be on every repairer's medium term plan. Technical training, business processes, tools and equipment all warrant investigation.
"As a result of the technology merry-go-round, we'll see garages who once said 'we don't do engine management', and then said 'we don't do diesels', who are now saying 'we don't do hybrids', change in order to adapt to the times and technology and to remain in business."
According to the IMI, insurers may charge up to 50% more for hybrid and electric vehicles, due to the higher prices and the lack of garages available for repairs. They reported Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Rachael Maskell MP, as saying: “Members of the public are rightly concerned about air pollution, and many drivers clearly want to do their bit for the environment. But it’s up to the Government to make sure the right incentives are there.”
“The reality at the moment is that motorists are effectively penalised for choosing greener options. For that to change the Government needs to step up and invest more in clean fuel vehicles, as well as the infrastructure and skills needed to support, service and maintain them.”
A report commissioned by the IMI and authored by Professor Jim Saker of Loughborough University found that 320,000 jobs could be created and a staggering £51 billion (per year) generated for the UK economy. He even predicted the skill shortage reported on by the IMI, when in 2016 he said: “The UK by the nature of its size and geography has a natural advantage in the rapid adoption of vehicles with the new power train technologies, but it is dependent on Government investment to pump prime this initiative.”
“Without proper regulation, a skills gap will emerge with only a limited number of technicians working in the franchised sector being able to service and repair new technology vehicles. If this trend is found to be true then it is likely that the independent sector of the retail automotive sector will decline. This will mean that the market will fail to open up and develop to the benefit of the UK economy.”
Motor Trade Insurance For Electric Mechanics
Whether you have the capability to service ultra-low emission and electric vehicles or not, you will still need Motor Trade insurance. So whether you need Electric Vehicle Mechanics insurance or just a regular Motor Trade insurance quote, click ‘Get a Quote’ below or call 0800 221 8077.