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.”

REPXPERT Academy LIVE is back

·   REPXPERT Academy LIVE returns on 21st May

·   Brand new location: The STEAM Academy at Bridgend College

·   Four technical and business seminars

The first REPXPERT Academy Live training day event to take place since 2020 will roll into the STEAM Academy at Bridgend College’s new Pencoed campus on Saturday 21st May, where visitors will be able to learn about the latest technologies, tools, and product installation skills from Schaeffler’s REPXPERT team, in four 45-minute training sessions.

Each session is designed to offer garage owners and professional technicians a taster of the complete one or two-day IMI certified training packages available from Schaeffler directly, or through its distribution partners, packed with valuable tips, tricks, and best practice advice. IMI members can claim CPD points for a full day of training.

Schaeffler will be offering an introduction to LuK Double Clutch Systems, as well as a Timing Belt Workshop from Tim Adams – with the alternative title of ‘How to avoid expensive mistakes!’

Local garage owner, Hayley Pells of Avia Autos, is supporting the event, as well as hosting a training session on ‘Pathway to EV’. Another local garage owner, Tim Benson, will be the second guest presenter, with an all-new workshop business masterclass.

Entry to REPXPERT Academy LIVE is free of charge and includes complimentary breakfast, lunch, and refreshments throughout. Doors open at 9am, with training starting at 10am, and the event will draw to a close at around 4pm.

Register to attend here  

Is the UK ready for self-steering cars?

Following a consultation last year, the government has announced that vehicles with Automated Lane-Keeping Systems, ALKS, technology could be allowed on UK roads by the end of this year – the first type of hands-free driving to be legalised in the UK.

The technology controls the position and speed of a car in a single lane and it will be limited to 37mph. Drivers will not be required to monitor the road or keep their hands on the wheel when the vehicle is driving itself but the driver will need to be able take over when requested by the system within 10 seconds. If a driver fails to respond, the vehicle will automatically put on its hazard lights to warn nearby vehicles, slow down and eventually stop.

The technology could improve road safety by reducing human error, says the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, preventing 47,000 serious accidents and saving 3,900 lives over the next decade. “Technologies such as Automated Lane Keeping Systems will pave the way for higher levels of automation in future – and these advances will unleash Britain’s potential to be a world leader in the development and use of these technologies, creating essential jobs while ensuring our roads remain among the safest on the planet,” said SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes.

Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI, highlighted the ongoing training requirement for repairers following the announcement: “The IMI has already cited the serious deficit in technicians qualified to work on electric vehicles; currently we’re at just 5%. A skilled workforce for vehicles featuring Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) is better populated – but it’s still an area of concern as a whole. And the reality is this currently presents a much bigger risk for road users than electric vehicles.”

“Connected and autonomous technologies are crucial to advancing the safety and performance of vehicles for all road users. But it will only work if it is accurately calibrated at all times and whilst ADAS technology is certified at manufacture, we firmly believe there is room for improvement to ensure that automotive technicians repairing vehicles fully understand ADAS technology so that all systems are precisely and accurately calibrated before a vehicle goes back on the road.”

The IMI’s TechSafe standard has been developed to ensure technicians are appropriately qualified to work on vehicles involving ADAS as well as electrified vehicles. You can find out more at: https://tide.theimi.org.uk

Trade association response to spring budget

Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry comments on the Spring Budget:

“The difficult balancing act Rishi Sunak faces of supporting those most in need whilst starting to try to recoup some of the massive spend over the last year means that there are winners and losers in the Budget. For some parts of the automotive sector there will certainly be relief that the furlough scheme is being extended to the end of September.

“Our latest analysis of ONS data suggests that since the beginning of November, the proportions of those in automotive on furlough has been increasing in line with the tightening restrictions across the UK. But with the path out of lockdown starting in April, hopefully those numbers will start to reduce, and importantly redundancy doesn’t have to be the option for those employees for which there won’t be immediate work. The longer timescale certainly gives businesses time to start to build up their income again and perhaps gives some of the 16,000 plus individuals who have already been made redundant new opportunities in the sector.

“Employers may also be encouraged by the £126m funding boost offered by Government for training. It remains to be seen whether this will encourage greater employer engagement with Traineeships or in offering the required on-the-job training associated with the new T Levels.

“But most disappointing is the lack of any real tangible support to improve apprenticeship take up. With the Government still refusing to waive the Apprenticeship Levy clawback, if funds are not used within two years, the picture for the apprenticeship route in automotive still looks bleak. Whilst apprenticeship starts in England as a whole dropped by 9% in November 2020, for the automotive sector the fall was much more significant. Apprenticeship starts in automotive in November 2020 were 33% lower than the previous year.”

The Independent Garage Association, IGA, welcomed the Chancellor’s small business support measures. Chief Executive Stuart James, commented: “We are pleased that financial support for small businesses has been extended, and thank the Chancellor for responding to our request to continue the Retail Business Rate Relief Scheme into the 2021/22 tax year.”

James continued: “There are hard times ahead for independent garages. A significant decline in MOT work is expected from April to June, where motorists took advantage of the MOT extension last year. Garages have also experienced lower volumes of servicing and repair work over the past year due to motorists making fewer journeys.

“Extending the furlough and business rate relief schemes will provide the financial assistance needed to help independent garages through this upcoming difficult period, so they can continue their essential work keeping vehicles in their local communities safe and roadworthy.”

Trade association response to 2021 Budget

Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry:

“The difficult balancing act Rishi Sunak faces of supporting those most in need whilst starting to try to recoup some of the massive spend over the last year means that there are winners and losers in today’s Budget. For some parts of the automotive sector there will certainly be relief that the furlough scheme is being extended to the end of September.

Our latest analysis of ONS data suggests that since the beginning of November, the proportions of those in automotive on furlough has been increasing in line with the tightening restrictions across the UK. But with the path out of lockdown starting in April, hopefully those numbers will start to reduce, and importantly redundancy doesn’t have to be the option for those employees for which there won’t be immediate work. The longer timescale certainly gives businesses time to start to build up their income again and perhaps gives some of the 16,000 plus individuals who have already been made redundant new opportunities in the sector.

“Employers may also be encouraged by the £126m funding boost offered by Government for training. It remains to be seen whether this will encourage greater employer engagement with Traineeships or in offering the required on-the-job training associated with the new T Levels.

“But most disappointing is the lack of any real tangible support to improve apprenticeship take up. With the Government still refusing to waive the Apprenticeship Levy clawback, if funds are not used within two years, the picture for the apprenticeship route in automotive still looks bleak. Whilst apprenticeship starts in England as a whole dropped by 9% in November 2020, for the automotive sector the fall was much more significant. Apprenticeship starts in automotive in November 2020 were 33% lower than the previous year.”

The IGA welcomed the Chancellor’s small business support measures.

“We are pleased that financial support for small businesses has been extended in today’s Budget, and thank the Chancellor for responding to our request to continue the Retail Business Rate Relief Scheme into the 2021/22 tax year,” said Stuart James, Chief Executive of the Independent Garage Association (IGA).

James continued: “There are hard times ahead for independent garages. A significant decline in MOT work is expected from April to June, where motorists took advantage of the MOT extension last year. Garages have also experienced lower volumes of servicing and repair work over the past year due to motorists making fewer journeys.

“Extending the furlough and business rate relief schemes will provide the financial assistance needed to help independent garages through this upcoming difficult period, so they can continue their essential work keeping vehicles in their local communities safe and roadworthy.”

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.”

IMI holds Q&A on employment implications of Brexit

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is providing automotive employers with a helping hand in understanding the implications of the EU exit deal.  A webinar on Thursday 14th January will focus on what the new Brexit deal means for the auto industry, particularly focussing on recruitment, as well as wider considerations for businesses.

Featuring Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI, Steve Scofield, Head of Business Development and Sam Purvis, Managing Director of The Compass Partnership, the Q&A session will focus on the employment challenges that the exit from the EU brings including:

•             How the Brexit deal affects the automotive industry

•             Potential short, medium and long term effects

•             What could this mean for international workers?

•             What companies should be thinking about for recruitment

•             Workforce planning and development

•             How Brexit affects those who are currently looking for work.

To register for the webinar visit http://bit.ly/BrexitWeb.  Questions for the panel can also be posted in advance.

“With the EU deal being done so close to the deadline – and with many taking a well-earned break over the Christmas period – we are finding many employers are only now able to take on board the potential impact on their recruitment plans”, explained Steve Nash.  “We have therefore invited recruitment expert, Sam Purvis of the Compass Partnership, to join our webinar to help employers understand their options.”

The IMI Brexit Webinar takes place at 15.00 on Thursday 14th January 2021.

The Green Revolution: Sale of new ICE-powered vehicles banned after 2030

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”.

Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry, responded: “We knew it was coming, but of course the implications for the automotive industry are monumental; 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.

“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. And that means some of that £12bn investment promised by the Prime Minister needs to be put towards skills training.”

“The IMI TechSafe™ 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. 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 urgently to encourage automotive employers to re-ignite their EV training plans.”

“Whilst the Independent Garage Association (IGA) supports the government’s green agenda, the desire to push to a full Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) car parc by 2030 is very ambitious considering there are many issues still unresolved.”

“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.”

Key Facts:

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.”

https://tide.theimi.org.uk/

IMI: COVID-19 hub

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) continues to focus on the wealth of support and resources it can offer to automotive industry professionals and their employers, as well as learners and their training centres, during the coronavirus pandemic. Whilst lending its voice to industry calls for a number of initiatives to help those in the sector during the current challenges, the industry body has also created a dedicated resource hub.

Standalone sections for members, centres, students and businesses provide input from the IMI experts as well as links to other sites for useful information. Topics cover employment and learning issues as well as a focus on wellbeing. The IMI’s close partnership with Ben, the motor industry charity, is also reflected in the hub with access to a variety of resources.

“The world continues to change in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the IMI is working hard to make sure our members – and anyone else in the sector – get the services and support they need, for however long they need them”, said Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI. “It’s difficult to predict how the situation will develop, but we’ll remain flexible and adapt to any changes, and our COVID-19 hub will be constantly updated with new information and resources as the situation evolves.”