The ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars has been brought forward ten years to 2030, forming part of Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan to tackle climate change and create jobs in industries such as nuclear energy – the UKs “green industrial revolution”.
“We knew it was coming, but of course the implications for the automotive industry are monumental,”says Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry, “Manufacturers now know that they must replace their entire product offering with electrified vehicles in less than 10 years. That can surely only mean that their ranges will shrink significantly compared to today. Let’s hope that consumer choice remains front and centre.”
Steve continues: “Currently around just 5% of UK automotive technicians are adequately trained to work on electric vehicles. The ramp-up plan for all those who are likely to work on electrical vehicles – from service and repair technicians to those working in the roadside recovery and blue light sectors – now must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”
“The IMI TechSafe standards mean that electrified vehicle users can access the IMI Professional Register to check the electric vehicle technical competencies of technicians at their local garage. But we are currently a long way off achieving a critical mass of technicians qualified, with COVID-19 setting us back significantly in reaching optimum numbers in time for 2035, let alone 2030. Government action is needed to encourage automotive employers to re-ignite their EV training plans.”
“There are a number of logistical questions that need resolving ahead of the ban,”states Stuart James, Chief Executive of the IGA. “Electric vehicles are highly priced compared to their petrol and diesel counterparts, and the government needs to ensure that consumers have a more affordable choice to maintain their mobility.
“There are also many unanswered questions surrounding HEV battery life, the sustainability of producing these batteries, and charging point infrastructure. Many consumers are wary of buying a HEV, and until they become more affordable and the driving ranges are seen to increase sales, growth is likely to remain low.
“The independent garage sector is well positioned to support customers with servicing and repairs on these vehicles, and over the past five years have been preparing through over 5,000 HEV Awareness and Safety courses delivered by the IGA. While the drive to reduce carbon emissions is vital for the long- term future of our planet, the government has a long journey ahead to overcome these hurdles before 2030.”