There is much speculation that the government is planning to move forward the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030, with hybrids given a reprieve to 2035, but Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI, warns that this acceleration could put motorists and automotive workers at serious risk.
“I admire the confidence of those feeding this speculation – apparently there are assurances that the infrastructure will be ready by this date. But there is so much more to consider than simply the charging infrastructure.
“Indeed, in some ways the charging network issue is relatively simple to resolve…it just needs investment, and rather a lot of it! However, we won’t get the network we need if the government leaves it largely to private businesses to solve the problem, as it has done up to now. The investments made by our government are paltry compared to other countries.
“But I worry that a much bigger piece of the jigsaw has been forgotten. What about the technicians to service and repair this new automotive technology which, in turn, will give motorists the essential confidence they need?
“As we advance towards a zero- emission future, the technology that technicians will be coming into contact with is changing – resulting in high voltage electrics becoming commonplace. Motorists driving electrified vehicles want to know that they are handing over their vehicle to someone who has the right skills. Those who aren’t properly trained or equipped to work on electrified vehicles would be risking serious injury or potentially fatal shock. The IMI TechSafeTM standards, endorsed by OLEV at the end of 2019, mean that electrified vehicle users can access the IMI Professional Register to check the electric vehicle technical competencies of technicians at their local garage.
“This is a crucial step in giving car buyers confidence that their electric vehicle can be serviced, maintained and repaired by a garage with the right skills – and that removes a key barrier to EV adoption. But it’s also important that government looks at investment in skills training to support a sector that is currently severely depleted by COVID-19, to ensure its zero emissions goals can be achieved.”