London motorist’s put off ULEVs

High insurance premiums for electric and hybrid vehicles are putting 65% of drivers off making the switch from diesel to low emission vehicles, according to research commissioned by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI).

London mayor, Sadiq Khan, is introducing a ‘Toxicity Charge’ – or T-Charge – this October to help tackle pollution.

Although 70% of the capital’s motorists have shown grave concerns about air pollution, 65% of Londoners are unwilling to pay the increased insurance premiums.

Insurers are charging up to 50% more to cover electric and hybrid vehicles due to higher prices and lack of skilled technicians. Currently only one per cent of mechanics in the UK have the necessary qualifications to carry out work on the high-voltage systems of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs).

The IMI has called on ministers to help with this skills shortage with a £30m investment in training from a £600m fund created to promote ULEVs.

When the IMI report was published at the end of January 2017, Leonie Cooper, Labour’s Environment spokesperson on the London Assembly, said ‘The Government has a responsibility to encourage drivers to switch to electrified cars to protect people’s health and to reduce carbon emissions to protect the environment.  It also has a responsibility to make sure that drivers can afford to make the switch.’

She continued, ‘The skills issue identified by the IMI is a major obstacle that Chris Grayling MP needs to address as a matter of urgency.  The Mayor is taking a range of actions to make electric vehicles more appealing to Londoners but this skills issue is parked outside the door of the Department for Transport.’

The government has also, this week, announced new measures to improve the provision of electric vehicle charge points as part of the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill.

Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI, raised concerns saying ‘This latest announcement, yet again, misses the key point on getting better adoption of electric vehicles.  Millions of tax payers cash spent on charging points will be wasted if the government won’t help independent garages and the wider industry keep up with the switch to electric.’