EV scheme for Servicesure members

GSF Car Parts has introduced a new scheme to help its 548-strong network of Servicesure garages unlock the potential of EVs and hybrids for their business.

EVsure is available as an add-on for existing members who have at least one technician qualified to the IMI’s Level 3 Techsafe standard, enabling them to work safely on EVs. Members who become EVsure garages have access to national branding and promotion, discounted technical advice and equipment, and professionally accredited training and development.

Richard Maitland-Price, owner of Shaws Service Station in Rhyl

GSF Car Parts Head of Garage Programmes Paul Dineen said: “We believe EVsure is going to be a game changer for the aftermarket. Main dealers have held a monopoly on EV maintenance and repair for too long, and we know from experience that independent garage owners can offer excellent value for money alongside outstanding service that matches and often exceeds main dealers.

“EVsure will enable our Servicesure members to directly compete with main dealers by offering a qualified, trusted and good value alternative.”

Hybrid & EV Sales Increase

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ September 2021 report showed sales increases of 104.9% and 87.9% (year-to-date change) for new plug-in hybrid electric and battery electric vehicles respectively and workshops are catching up with this trend, with training courses enabling technicians to safely work on these vehicles proving popular, with many dates fully booked months in advance. However, current estimates still highlight around only 6% of the workforce are EV qualified.

A YouGov study of 1,731 UK drivers commissioned by The Motor Ombudsman reveals that six in ten respondents would consider getting behind the wheel of an electric car if they were to purchase a new or used vehicle in 2022, with 39% of citing the fact that a decision to go electric was due to the rising cost of fuel. MD Bill Fennell, comments: “As our study has shown, electric vehicles are fast becoming a leading choice for motorists when buying a car, thanks in part to the growing charging network and the greater choice of models now on the market. However, current events, such as the rising cost of petrol and diesel at the pumps, the unavailability of fuel, as well as the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in the London area, are clearly front of mind for consumers, and are playing their part in the decision regarding what type of car to get next.”

Over the next few pages, we look at the latest offerings from parts and training suppliers to support the growing opportunity that hybrid and EV repair presents…

EV Parts

Parts for an EV can differ to their ICE cousins.

Be wary of ‘identical’ ICE and EV components…

Peter Wallace, Comline Auto Parts’ Group Senior Business Line/Product Manager, tells autotechnician that technicians need to be cautious when fitting EV steering & suspension components. While developing its steering & suspension catalogue, Peter has noticed scenarios where parts for an EV are different to their internal combustion engine cousins; for example, on an electric Peugeot 208 and Vauxhall Corsa-F, the original anti-roll bar link is lighter than the one fitted to models with an ICE.

Peter explained: “My gut instinct is that these parts have been made lighter to compensate for the additional battery weight. The issue, though, is that these components will look identical to the original specification but will comprise of subtle rotational or dimensional differences; therefore, if fitted, those components will cause some issues when the vehicle is being driven, such as veering left-to-right (yaw ratio) and vice-versa.

“What’s more, sticking with the same vehicle layout, the orientation of the bush in the lower wishbone arms are different on the electric version, which will allow for similar comfort as the ICE version when going over bumps – again, due to weight. The same applies to the ball joint, which has a different articulation angle and mounting face to pinch bolt height. These are things that technicians need to be aware of and why Comline’s cataloguing needs to be accurate and up- to-date.”

Peter believes this trend is a result of VMs changing their approach when developing parts for their vehicles. “When the Nissan Leaf (2010-2017) was launched, it was equipped with components from models within Nissan’s existing range, such as arms, links, ball joints and track rod ends off a Nissan Juke (2010-onwards); however, because of scenarios like the one identified above, VMs are having to change tact.

“The Tesla Model 3, Audi e-tron and Volkswagen ID.3 are all examples where every part is new, so VMs are spending significant amounts of time and resources in developing new parts. As a result, technicians need to be careful and may need to adapt their fitting techniques because it’s not just ‘another vehicle’; it’s a heavier vehicle and boasts different characteristics, wear and tear.”

Comline is set to launch 50 parts that will only fit EV vehicles over the next three-to-six months. www.comline.uk.com/products/steering-suspension.

High-voltage e-learning course…

The MEYLE Academy has a wide range of free to access digital training courses, including an e-learning course on high-voltage vehicles.

Participants receive a certificate after successful participation and passing of the final exam. This certificate is based on the German DGUV regulations and is mandatory there to work on high-voltage vehicles. MEYLE’s senior technical trainer Patrick Stüdemann stresses the relevance of the course for the international market: “The course content is not only highly relevant for all workshops in Germany but also across the globe, since the training covers all essential aspects, when dealing with a high-voltage vehicle.”

In addition to the relevant safety and health aspects, content includes the differences between the various drive topologies, legal matters as well as hazards and relevant first aid. www.meyle.com/en/trainings

Instant access to vital data…

Pro-Assist is a mobile app, designed by training providers Pro- Moto, providing access to critical and simplified information for technicians working on hybrid and electric vehicles.

Vehicle manufacturers all have a different way of presenting the relevant and critical information, Pro-Assist presents the different Hybrid, Electric, REV models currently across the UK and European markets in one intuitive format. Users can find the technical information required to correctly, and safely, work on these vehicles – from towing to safe shut-down procedures.

Download on the Apple Store or Google Play via https://m.appbuild.io/proassis

A new era for the electric motor…

Remanufacturer Carwood is evolving its offering to include capability for hybrid and electric vehicles. Here, they tell autotechnician about its upcoming specialist rewind business based down in Yeovil, that enables workshops to provide customers with a cost-effective electric motor repair.

Although electric motors have been used in automotive applications for well over a century, their adoption as one of the three main powertrain components in electric vehicles, effectively replacing the internal combustion engine, represents a significant technology leap. Whilst traditional motors typically consist of a stator, rotor and bearings, the latest generation of motors for electric vehicles are much more complex. Incorporating integrated gearboxes, sophisticated electronic control and hi-tech cooling systems, they are a completely different animal, and require an altogether different skill set to service them.

Faced with this reality, many garages shy away from any sort of work on the electric motor in hybrid and electric vehicles, choosing only to sell the motor, and not offer even a fitment service, let alone repair. As well as the unnecessary expense of a brand-new motor, this costs the vehicle owner additional time and hassle. Carwood has the necessary equipment and know-how needed to return the unit to its original condition, providing hybrid and EV owners with a much more cost- effective and convenient service option.

The company recently had a Renault Zoe come into its Coventry workshop, with a danger warning sign illuminated on the dashboard, indicating a high-voltage, electrical fault and rendering the vehicle undriveable. Having performed a series of advanced, on-vehicle diagnostic tests, and the prospect of a new replacement unit costing the customer upwards of £2,000, the motor was removed and sent to Yeovil for further testing. Here, the motor was stripped down and subjected to further diagnostic and test routines, developed in-house for the remanufacturing of electric vehicle motors. Although the motor was intended to be non-serviceable, Carwood has also developed special tools to both dismantle, and reassemble the motor assembly back to OE build specifications.

EV motor stator

An EV motor stator.

A stator fault, caused by an insulation failure on one of the slot linings, was subsequently identified, requiring a full rewind – an intricate process which took over 16 hours to complete by hand. To verify its electrical integrity, and confirm the fault had been fixed, the stator was retested on a static surge test. Once reassembled with new bearings, seals and brushes, the complete motor was then put on a dynamometer to replicate on-vehicle conditions, before being reinstalled into the customer’s car. With a motor now performing as good as new, and with a much lower bill, the customers were very satisfied. Carwood’s electric motor programme for hybrid and electric motors will be launched in early 2022. Email: electricvehicle@carwood.org

Causes of electric motor failure…

Carwood is seeing electric motor failures due to a variety of reasons. These include:

Evolving support…

Tapping into new trends, and preparing for them in advance, is essential for the long-term success of a workshop says Schaeffler, and it is working on solutions to support workshops moving forward. “We consider digitalisation to be an opportunity to support complex repair procedures on- site,” explains Jens Schüler, President GKAM, Global Sales & Marketing. REPXPERT provides workshops with appropriate special tools and repair support, not just via traditional channels like personal training and hotlines, but increasingly through digital formats such as virtual installation instructions and training sessions.

Schaeffler is also helping to ensure that independent workshops do not lose out on the opportunities offered by electric mobility, developing e-axles and hybrid modules for electric vehicle manufacturers.

Evolving components…

The impact of new technologies on the independent aftermarket (IAM) has had a big influence on the direction Nissens Automotive has taken. “We see two main technology impacts on the IAM currently – new e nergy vehicles (NEVs) and electrification of components,” says Nissens VP of Product & Technology, Jesper Petersen.

“We already have plans to be part of the development and preparation for upcoming NEVs. For electrification of components, emission norms and rigorous efficiency standards are forcing car manufacturers to provide vehicle systems with more intelligent parts. We must address this change as many components in the Nissens portfolio are currently experiencing an update, for example, our electrically actuated turbochargers, EGR valves, electric water pumps and electronically controlled fan/ blower assemblies.”

The company is now focusing on more active parts in its offerings across three major systems – air conditioning (AC), engine cooling (EC) and efficiency & emissions (EE) – by developing electricity-driven and software-controlled components. It currently provides almost 400 parts for the most popular hybrid and electric cars, for systems like AC, including heat pumps and compressors, as well as parts for the EC and EE systems, like EGR valves and turbo part upgrades.

Nissens’ electrical water pump – there will be more instances of cooling and HVAC systems where electrical components supersede traditionally powered components.

EV Masters Roadshow…

Our Virtual Academy has entered the world of face-to-face training and the first offering of OVA Live is its EV Masters Roadshow, developed in partnership with HEVRA.

Over four days, technicians will be fully immersed in the practical diagnosis of hybrid and electric vehicles, giving successful candidates an IMI Level 4 Award and the necessary skills, knowledge, and confidence to undertake the diagnosis and associated repairs of electrified vehicles The time spent in the classroom will be kept to a minimum, with a heavy emphasis on immersive, practical training on real cars with live faults, within the workshop.

The training includes the function, operation and diagnosis of the following systems: Hybrid/Electric Vehicle Powertrain Management – Sensors, Actuators, and Control Methods; Charging Systems – Cables, Connections, Communication Protocols; Battery Management Systems – Operating States, Failure Modes, Monitoring Systems, Thermal Management; Battery Diagnosis and Repair – Live Work and Analysis; Hybrid/ Electric Vehicle Safety and Protection Systems – Interlock, Isolation, Insulation, and Bonding Circuits.

The course is being held at multiple locations across the UK – upcoming dates include Walsall 14-17 December, St. Helens 18-21 January 2022, Somerset 25-28 January, Surrey 15-18 February, and Brands Hatch 22-25 February. Candidates must already have achieved the Level 3 Award in Electric Hybrid Vehicle System Repair and Replacement, or an equivalent industry qualification.

“This incorporates IMI Level 4, but it’s called EV Masters for a reason,” Ben Stockton, MD of Our Virtual Academy told autotechnician. “We’re very good trainers but we do acknowledge we’re not there working day in, day out at the grindstone seeing all of the various faults that are around and this is where our tie up with HEVRA has come in. Pete Melville has been collecting failed components for a donor vehicle that we can use, simulating genuine faults that have happened and have been diagnosed throughout the HEVRA network. We dedicate around two and a half days teaching the diagnostic techniques and underpinning knowledge of what these techniques are all about and then wheel out the vehicle and go through the hands-on training, giving us the confidence that what we’ve taught them on the hypothetical on how to diagnose, transfers into doing it for real, with real faults.”

The four-day EV Masters training costs £1,395 + VAT per person. In addition to receiving an OVA EV Masters certificate and an IMI L4 certificate, attendees will also gain three months free access to the advanced hybrid and electric content on OurVirtualAcademy.com.

Email: Sales@OurVirtualAcademy.comwww.ourvirtualacademy.com/ev-masters-roadshow

EV battery & coolant leak detector…

Redline Detection has engineered diagnostic leak detection technology exclusively for battery electric vehicles. “Redline has partnered with leading EV automakers to develop technology that gives 100% assurance that battery cases and battery coolant systems are sealed under precise pressures and meet all OEM and battery manufacturer warranty standards for safety,” says CMO Alex Parker.

The Battery + Coolant Leak Detector (BCLD) was designed to test the integrity of battery enclosures in electric and hybrid vehicles, it connects to the battery enclosure on or off the vehicle, giving audible and visual progress and precise pass/fail indication—specific to that battery and vehicle type—when testing is complete. Data logging and reports can be accessed remotely, and the machine is programmable for future battery configurations.

Testing the integrity of battery enclosures is necessary to ensure that there is no possible intrusion of water, dust, or contaminants that could cause catastrophic failure. Battery enclosures are tested after any collision, even a scrape to the bottom of the battery box over a curb that could compromise the seal, as well as after lid off battery maintenance or service.

ZF Aftermarket Electric Vehicle Systems Training

The electric car market is growing quickly, with nearly 300,000 pure electric, battery-operated vehicles (BEV) cars on UK roads at the end of May 2021, and more than 600,000 plug-in models, if including plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

More vehicles, both BEV and PHEVs, are out of warranty and reaching an age where owners want to have service and repairs carried out by independent garages. However, without the correct training, workshop employees are not allowed to touch an electric or hybrid vehicle by hand; a rule which even applies to simple maintenance work on conventional vehicle systems. In line with this, ZF Aftermarket has been working in conjunction with concerned industry parties including the Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) to lobby for increased communication of relevant training.

Make a date – the HVE way…

The High-voltage training, offered under the ZF [pro]Tech garage workshop concept, consists of coordinated e-learning and practical hands-on training for optimal learning success. To meet soaring demand for its HVE courses, the business is preparing to up the ante for 2022, promising to add further course dates to satisfy demand.

Training courses available:

Electrically Instructed Persons

For those who have been used to 12, 24 or 48V automotive electrical systems, a change in mindset and a higher level of awareness is needed to work safely with high voltage electric vehicles. For example, where electrical cables in a conventional vehicle are routinely removed and reinstalled multiple times and connections often tightened by feel, high voltage cables are only rated for a certain number of connection cycles and terminations must be accurately tightened to the specified torque. This is because any abrasion of the contact areas or incorrect tensioning can have a dramatic effect on their electrical resistance, possibly leading to localised heating and subsequent fire risk.

Blending theory and practical instruction, this IMI level 2 approved course imparts sufficient knowledge to take a delegate to the ‘Electrically Instructed Person’ (EIP) level of competence. Attendees learn fundamental safety procedures such as following vehicle manufacturers’ protocols for powering down a vehicle, and applying the correct techniques to ensure electrical isolation so that the vehicle cannot restart unintentionally. Each EIP course is one (admittedly long) day in duration and ideally has only eight delegates attending, allowing each person sufficient time to complete the practical exercises included.

High Voltage Experts

This is probably the most comprehensive level of electric vehicle systems training available in the UK, and is the same as that provided to ZF research and development staff and to certain vehicle manufacturers’ engineering teams and production line technicians.

While someone who achieves EIP status is well on the way to working safely with electric vehicles, they are not yet qualified to work on the high voltage parts of the system. To date, around a third of Electrically Instructed Persons have returned to tackle the advanced stage of ZF Aftermarket’s training offer: the ‘High Voltage Expert’ (HVE) level of competence, which also earns successful attendees the IMI level 3 qualification. Before gaining access to HVE training, applicants must pre-qualify by successfully completing six online e-learning modules during the six weeks prior to training.

The course is split across two weeks; three days per week plus an examination day. Week one covers the fundamental principles of electrical engineering. This takes candidates through Ohm’s law, power consumption and calculations on both series and parallel circuits using a combination of theoretical principles and practical examples. Week two puts this theory into practice, applying it to real world

Course Dates:
Electrically Instructed Persons (EIP) (1 day, IMI Level 2)
• 3rd March 2022
• 24th May 2022
• 30th June /2022
HVE (7-day IMI Level 3)
• 15th to 25th Feb 2022
• 3rd to 13th May 2022

Please get in touch ASAP to book, as places on these courses are determined by current Covid guidelines. Your name will be automatically added to a waiting list if no places are available and you will be informed of further dates in due course.

Email: protech.zf-aftermarket@zf.com

Test your Hybrid & EV knowledge

With the magazine focussing on specialising this month, we thought we’d ask our friends at Delphi Technologies to create an online Autotech test to probe your knowledge on Hybrid and Electric Vehicle systems. You can access the online assessment ‘Autotech 2021 Test 12: Hybrid & EV’ by logging on, or registering, at https://autotechnician.co.uk/registration. Once you complete a multiple- choice test, you will receive instant scores, answers, and explanations of the topics covered.

As the sales of Hybrid, Plug in Hybrid and EV vehicles continue to grow with a rapid increase of new models available in the market, Delphi Technologies asks: Are you ready for the future?

Here’s a taster question from the new quiz:

Q. This is the engine bay from a Golf GTE plug-in Hybrid. What is the plug shown used for?

A. Diagnostic interface connector for the Hybrid/EV system

B. Disables the high voltage system

C. Allows the user to check the voltage within the high voltage circuit

D. Diagnostic interface connector for the high voltage battery.


Autotechnician is chomping at the bit to host a live event so we’ve set a date and venue for 2021. All things being well, we will bring together a group of fantastic trainers, workshop owners and technicians to Delphi Technologies’ training workshop in Warwick on Friday 26th & Saturday 27th November.

Tickets numbers will be limited and heavily subsidised by our sponsors. Register your interest by emailing Nicola@autotechnician.co.uk and you will be offered first dibs on tickets when they are released. Social distancing measures will be in place and tickets will be fully refunded if the event is unable to run due to COVID-19 restrictions.


Autotechnician is currently planning a live training event for November but in the meantime, we will produce another Autotech Online training video for technicians to enjoy at home. We will be heading to Cleevely Motors in June to film technical presentations and workshop case studies to provide practical guidance on a range of topics. These will be published as a series of online videos. The content will also feature within a special supplement in the printed July/August issue.

Our first technical video compilation can be found at https:// youtu.be/JWh0hT6BRTY. Autotech Online features a 30-minute workshop case study from Andy Crook who runs diagnostics on an Audi S3 to get to the route of a running fault.

The video includes a presentation from Philip Mitchell of Delphi Technologies, who focuses on drive modules and details some of the existing mild hybrid setups – six options Borg Warner have in its ‘P’ family of Hybrid powertrains. The video also runs through the remanufacturing process conducted by ACtronics, ZF overviews its latest braking technology and DPF Doctor Darren Darling provides some insights into using additives correctly and gives viewers tips on how to stay out of trouble when working on DPF repairs.

Here’s the full run list so you can dip in and out of the content at your leisure:

0:00 Intro & Autotechnician announcements
02:17 Case Study Part 1 with Andy Crook
14:40 ACtronics – Best practice with remanufactured electronics
16:51 Case Study Part 2 with Andy Crook
27:14 ZF [pro] Tech – Electric vehicle braking
29:12 Case Study Part 3 with Andy Crook
34:00 Delphi Technologies – Overview of hybrid and EV drive modules

01:00:38 Darren Darling – Diesel fuel additives
01:14:38 Autotechnician online assessment information

Implications of the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars

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.”

The promising future of Electric Vehicles

After the COVID-induced slump in new car sales, Jonathan Gilpin of retail vehicle group Motorparks, looks at the increasing appeal of electric vehicles  

Although we all expected it, it didn’t make the news any less shocking. On 18th November, Boris Johnson announced that the sale of petrol or diesel cars and vans would be prohibited in the UK from 2030. The Prime Minister has labelled his ten-point action plan, which includes investment in sustainable energy and improved public transport, a ‘green industrial revolution’. One area which will receive funding to the tune of £1.3bn is the electric vehicle market. The UK will witness the introduction of significantly more charging points, while buyers will receive additional support thanks to a grant being implemented to aid those making the switch.

While the announcement was met with criticism from some, it isn’t all doom and gloom. In fact, the electric vehicle market has been a saving grace over the last two years.

Here, we take a look.

Over the last two years

In 2019, new car sales had a poor year, particularly diesel-powered vehicles but sales of electric vehicles had risen by 144 per cent in 2019. Why? Because motorists want fuel-efficient, high performance, low emission vehicles, and EVs offer exactly that. Of course, 2020 has been particularly bleak for the automotive industry in all respects. Showrooms across the country having to shut their doors and manufacturing plants unable to take delivery of parts, have further contributed to the lack of buying invoked by the recession. That being said, once again, while the market itself has shrunk, new electric vehicle sales have built upon their already solid foundations – up 184% year-on-year in September.

What’s been happening

When we look back to the early noughties and twenty-tens, electric vehicles had negative connotations. Poor mileage, expensive, and in most parts, lacking in what Thierry Henry once described as “va va voom”. The reputation was hardly unfair. If you went to buy an electric car, often these three attributes were true, and you were hardly spoilt for choice when it came to options either. The Prius changed the game admittedly, but even when it came to prominence, we were still left wanting more.

As the world began to demand a greener and cleaner world, one by one, the big brands began to jump in: Jaguar, Porsche, Renault, Audi, Hyundai, and Nissan, to name just a few. The latter of the bunch with their innovative model Nissan Leaf, developed exactly what the average car manufacturer desired – a plug-in vehicle that had a mileage range of more than 200 miles, was powerful, and, perhaps most importantly, affordable.

Saving yourself money

Generally, petrol and diesel prices are rising. It would be foolish to think that the currently depleted prices caused by COVID-19 will last beyond the end of 2020, and once the oil market returns to some form of normality, we should expect to see fuel prices return to the prices they were displaying in the early months of the year. In comparison, you will have a free charging point installed at your property when you buy an electric vehicle. Charging your vehicle at home will cost approximately 12p per kWh while charging it at a parking space will cost around 35p per kWh. After totting this up, you will recognise that a full charge costs no more than a few pounds, as opposed to £50 or £60 for a full tank of petrol or diesel.

The British Government are now offering £3,500 grants to encourage people to make the switch from high emission vehicles to electric or hybrid alternatives, as they strive to meet their ambitious net-zero targets in terms of emissions and air quality by 2050.

Mitigating range anxiety

Defined by the Washington Post as the “state of fear drivers experience from knowing that their battery could run out of charge and strand them far from a recharging station”, range anxiety is hardly unfounded. However, according to a study by MIT, this is very much a thing of the past. Firstly, the study points to the fact that a vehicle with a range of only 80 miles will sufficiently appease between 84 and 93 per cent of daily trips of citizens living in a developed country.

There are several types of electric vehicle chargers. In terms of weaker alternatives, level 1 and level 2 produce similar power to what you would usually find in a computer or a washing machine. These are the chargers commonly found in residential housing and parking spaces, providing a basic level of power, appropriate for short journeys. Meanwhile, level 3, found at charging stations, such as BMW i3’s SAE Combo, transfer 80 to 145km in 20 minutes, helping quash this aforementioned ‘range anxiety’ for the everyday motorist embarking on longer treks. The level 4 chargers, exclusive to Tesla’s superchargers, power an astounding 270km in 30 minutes. It is predicted that within the next five years, level 4 will be readily available.

Quality options from big brands

For many years prior, the appeal of the electric market was diminished by the sheer lack of options. There simply weren’t enough alternatives. In 2020, however, there is an electric vehicle which appeases almost every need and driving style. Auto Express detailed some of their best electric vehicles currently available on the market: the Kia e-Niro, the BMW i3, and the Jaguar I-Pace. The Korean Kia stands out thanks to its impressive range and affordable price, the BMW due to its “tiny running costs”, and the Jaguar earns its place through what has been described as a “premium EV pack”.

Although COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the car industry, we expect to see electric vehicles come out of the other side and attract drivers looking for something appealing and trustworthy.


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Are we ready for a 2030 ban on sale of new petrol and diesel cars?

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.”


Sales of alternative fuel vehicles overtake diesel

33,000 pure electric and hybrid cars were registered between April and June, compared with 29,900 diesels, according to The Department for Transport. Research from Close Brothers Motor Finance finds that pre lockdown, a third of drivers planned to buy a green vehicle next, while petrol and diesel were seeing a downward drop in popularity.

Close Brothers Motor Finance’s research included a telephone survey of over 200 UK car dealers and a consumer survey of over 2,000 UK drivers, weighted to be nationally representative. It found that once purchased, car buyers do not switch back, with 93% of AFV owners admitting they’d buy another one again, compared with just one in ten buyers who said they would opt for a diesel car next. Although petrol remains the most popular choice of fuel type, it continues to see a downward drop year on year, from 42% to 37% of drivers planning to buy another. With a fifth planning on buying a hybrid car, and one in ten opting for electric. Environmental concerns are the leading reason why people would opt for an AFV (28%), followed by cheaper running costs.

Seán Kemple, Managing Director at Close Brothers Motor Finance, commented: “At the start of the year, it looked like the shift to AFVs would be one of the biggest trends for the motor industry in 2020. Ambitious targets set by the Government to achieve zero-emissions streets put the wheels in motion for a greener future. And the demand is clearly there too.

“But in recent months, the shift to electric has been deprioritised for car dealers as they were forced to shut down shop in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. While the sector is bouncing back, dealers are now focused on getting buyers the keys to their next car and adapting to a very different retail environment. But the coming months are also an opportunity for the industry to build back better, a part of which will be building back, but greener. As people are continuing to turn away from public transport and look for alternative ways to travel, the car market is seeing a boost. Coupled with growing environmental consciousness and a looming diesel ban, demand for AFVs is likely to continue rising, and dealers have a chance to capitalise on this. Government support will also be vital in shaping the recovery of the sector and develop infrastructure to facilitate the shift the electric.”

Confidence in garage competence is given a boost

The Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has endorsed the Institute of the Motor Industry’s (IMI) TechSafeTM standards for people working on electrified vehicles. This will mean that electrified vehicle users can access the IMI Professional Register to check the electric vehicle technical competencies of technicians at their local garage. OLEV believes 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 – removing a key barrier to EV adoption. 

Minister of State for the Future of Transport, George Freeman, MP said: “Electrification of vehicles is happening and we want to make sure that drivers have confidence that their vehicles can be maintained and serviced to the highest standard. Safety will always be our first priority and building a sector equipped to manage the increasing demand of electrified vehicles is key. 

“Today’s launch of the IMI TechSafeTM standards is a crucial step in providing electric car buyers with extra assurance and towards achieving a zero-emission future.” 

Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI added: “As we advance towards a zero-emission future, the technology that technicians will be coming into contact with on a daily basis is changing – resulting in high voltage electrics becoming commonplace. 

“Those who aren’t properly trained or equipped to work on electrified vehicles would be risking serious injury or potentially fatal shock, which is why we are delighted the Office for Low Emission Vehicles has given their endorsement to our Electrified Vehicle Standards, under the IMI TechSafeTM banner. The IMI Professional Register will include a list of technicians meeting EV TechSafeTM standards so that any motorist can check that technicians at their local garage are able to work on their vehicle safely. 

“There are considerable challenges when it comes to ensuring staff are properly trained and qualified to work on electrified vehicles which pose a significant safety risk. The EV Professional Standard is a significant step forward to address these concerns, and it will not stand still. The EV TechSafeTM standard will evolve with the technology and the needs of the motor retail industry, “added Steve Nash. 

Training offered through all providers, in addition to the IMI, will be eligible for the accreditation scheme. 

Reader Letter: Does EV business pay?

“For the last 15 years, many have said that to continue as an independent, we should alienate much of our customer base and specialise in a certain area or marque. Well, we at Cleevely Motors are still busy and, although having to continually invest in equipment and training, we are still able to maintain most makes and models. 

“Looking to the near future though, what will become of the independent who can’t look after their customers who are changing over to a hybrid or EV? I took the commercial decision 18 months ago to start building an EV and Hybrid part of the business called Cleevely EV after purchasing a Nissan Leaf. After driving this new technology, I knew it would be the successor to our slow, expensive and inefficient combustion engines. We are already seeing our traditional customers transfer to alternative-fuelled vehicles and we can continue to look after them and retain their business. So, 18 months on, how is it going? Day to day we don’t see enough faults or jobs to survive as an EV-only business, however, work and enquiries are increasing, as many owners of these first generation of EVs are searching for somewhere more economical, than dealers, to maintain them. 

“Owning and using EVs daily is a key factor of the reputation we are building. EV customers tend to be very informed about their cars and very passionate about them – be warned, you won’t be able to baffle them with information about repairs! I haven’t yet experienced any hugely problematic jobs. We have replaced a Tesla on-board charge unit, which was diagnosed by Tesla remotely, and the customer came to us for the replacement to save costs. We have investigated faults that we have traced back to wiring, nothing more technical than you will see in your workshop. There are the obvious dangers of working with high voltage, but due to my training, I am fully aware of the necessary processes to keep myself and my colleagues safe. 

“You may have seen previous reports about our training facilities being used by Pro-Moto to train other technicians, or ‘the competition’. I have been asked, more than once, why I would want other garages doing the same thing as us? The answer is because I want all independents to continue and thrive. Electrified drivetrain adoption will grow and I believe it will grow faster if independents are qualified to maintain them and promote the benefits to their customer bases, or at least have the knowledge to answer questions about them. This is why I’m assisting the IMI with the TechSafe scheme and share my experience with the Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Repair Alliance, or HEVRA. Over the last 18 months, we have developed specialist parts, instructional videos and guides for any independent that wants to create their own EV section of the business. These are now available with the additional membership levels of HEVRA, including access to our stock of used EV and Tesla rental opportunities. I can’t recommend the benefits HEVRA membership has given us highly enough. We are regularly asked by EV owners up and down the country if we are going to franchise, but we see our involvement with HEVRA as a better opportunity to share the benefits with other independents, so we can all thrive. 

“So, am I happy I made the difficult commercial decision 18 months ago? The answer is most definitely, yes. I’m very proud of the Cleevely EV and Motors team for building the reputation we have within the EV community. It has involved a lot of dedication, weekend events and still requires constant social media promotion and involvement, but I know it is the right direction to go in. We aren’t stopping at what we have achieved so far either, there is more to come, but we are in the biggest change period our trade has ever seen, so why not keep changing?” 

Matt Cleevely, Cleevely Motors, Cheltenham. 

For EV and hybrid technical information, training and support, please contact: hello@hevra.org.uk.