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Government must invest £30m in ULEV training, says IMI

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The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is calling on the Government to make a £30m investment in specialist electric and hybrid vehicle training for thousands of maintenance and repair technicians in the independent retail sector – a crucial investment needed to support the public switch to ultra low emission vehicles (ULEV).

In the recent Autumn Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond said £390m will be invested in low-emission vehicles, freeing up money for more EV chargers and “building our competitive advantage in low-emission vehicles and development of connected, autonomous vehicles”.

Glass’s, Europe’s largest vehicle data provider, said: “It seems pretty clear that the government envisages us driving around in largish numbers of electric and advanced hybrid vehicles within five years, which, in our view, is a good match for the rate of development of EV technology. This will probably help to power new car sales.”

The IMI says the Government will need to invest in the technical skills infrastructure across the whole UK. It says the £40 million already allocated to cities to meet air quality and emission targets, and the Chancellor’s goal of every new car and van being ULEV by 2040, will not work in isolation.

Research commissioned by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), shows UK sales of electrified vehicles doubling since 2015, but despite this growth, the number of qualified repairers in the UK remains at around 0.4% of the 250,000 mechanics working on cars and vans commercially.

Motorists will be priced out of ULEV market if independents aren’t supported in training

There are serious health and safety issues for unskilled mechanics attempting to work on machines with 600 volts coursing through them. The IMI says sales growth will stall unless small repair businesses are helped to make the investment in skills needed to provide consumers with choice and value for money. It will mean ordinary working people will be priced out of the ULEV market.

Insurance premiums for electrified vehicles are already 30-50% higher than diesel cars because of the lack of qualified repairers.

Over 90% of independent garages say they would need to retrain existing technicians to undertake work on these electrified vehicles; it’s clear that unless there is a proactive strategy from the Government to encourage this training the UK will not be able to support the growth of future car technology.

The IMI’s research, On the Road to Sustainable Growth, by Professor Jim Saker, has been presented to the DFT consultation on proposed ultra low emission vehicle measures for inclusion in the Modern Transport Bill.

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