IMI raises concern over AFV regulation

A new survey conducted by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), shows that 53% of drivers planning to buy or lease a new car in the next two years are considering an electric or hybrid vehicle.

The professional body for the retail motor sector worth £152 million a year, shows dramatic growth in demand for alternative fuelled vehicles from the 2% of overall of car sales in 2014.

Manufacturers concerned by the recent diesel emissions turmoil will welcome the potential demand for AVs, demonstrated in the survey of 2,000 car owners carried at the end of last week. However the IMI is raising concerns about skill shortages and the lack government regulation covering electric and hybrid vehicle maintenance and repair.

IMI awards 96% of automotive qualifications and can report that 1,000 technicians are currently qualified to level 3 in electric vehicle and hybrid maintenance. Another 1,000 are currently are taking the 3 year course. With around 170,000 technicians working in the industry and less than 2% properly qualified to work on these cars, are surge in demand for electric vehicles will lead to difficulties for owners and businesses.

The IMI is concerned that a future dearth of specialist EV skills will lead to unqualified staff attempting to work on these vehicles with potentially fatal consequences.

The Institute is calling on the government to address the skills shortage with a proactive apprentice recruitment programme to help industry to bridge the skills gap. It also wants Ministers to introduce a license to practice for technicians working on electric and hybrid vehicles in similar way it regulates vehicle air conditioning maintenance and repair to protect the driving public.

IMI CEO, Steve Nash said, ‘We have always expected demand for electric and hybrid vehicles to increase gradually over time as the cars become more sophisticated and the public become aware of their quality, the level of demand shown in this survey is astonishing and requires a response from Government.’

‘We need a license to practice for technicians to reassure the public and to protect the employers who invest in the skills required to take care of the next generation of vehicles and their owners. We will be seeking a meeting with ministers as a matter of urgency.’