3 May 2016
Government investment of £30m needed in training to boost electric vehicle sales, report warns
Greater investment is needed in specialist electric and hybrid vehicle maintenance and repair training by 2020 or the UK economy could miss out on £51 billion a year.
This is the finding of a new report written by Professor Jim Saker, Director of the Centre for Automotive Management, which was commissioned by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI). It warns the Government to make a £30 million cash injection in the upskilling of thousands of maintenance and repair technicians in the UK retail motor industry, in order to safely support the growth of future car technology.
Professor Saker also says the Government will need to spend more of the £600 million it has set aside to promote the uptake of low emission vehicles, on charging infrastructure across the whole of the UK. He adds that the £40 million currently allocated to just four cities is inadequate to meet air quality and emission targets, and the Chancellor’s goal of every new car and van being ultra-low emission by 2040.
The report, On the Road to Sustainable Growth, shows how the UK car market is experiencing dramatic changes with plug-in hybrid sales more than doubling and pure electric vehicles increasing 50% in 2015. The report points out that this growth will soon impact on small businesses that will struggle to make the investment needed to provide consumers with choice and value for money.
Professor Saker also points to a serious health and safety issue with unskilled mechanics attempting to work on machines with 600 volts coursing through them.
With over 90% of independent garages saying they would need to retrain existing technicians to undertake work on these vehicles; it’s clear that unless a proactive strategy is undertaken, the UK will not be able to support the growth of future car technology safely.
Professor Saker suggests the Government introduce a license to practice in order to drive investment in the necessary training and make it illegal for untrained technicians to work on electric and hybrid vehicles.