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IF the Government pushes ahead with proposals to bring forward the deadline for the ban of sales of new diesel and petrol vehicles to 2030, there will need to be a boost in funding for the automotive sector to reskill.

Steve Nash, Chief Executive of the Institute of the Motor Industry, said that currently around 5% of UK automotive technicians are adequately trained to work on electric vehicles.

He added: “How do you ramp up electric vehicle adoption if the myriad of users – from private motorists to fleets operating cars and vans, blue light vehicles and more – can’t be confident they will be able to access the expertise to service and repair these vehicles safely?

“And, if the critical mass of skills doesn’t exist, the support infrastructure for zero emissions will be undermined too; insurers will keep premiums high if they can’t be confident they will be able to access a repair network that matches need.

“To achieve its goal, government has to recognise that amongst all of those calling for assistance in funding – from manufacturers to those creating the charging network – the basic fundamental of accredited skills needs to come near the front of the queue.

“Users of electrified vehicles want to know that they can hand 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 fatality.

“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.”

Key Facts:

  • There are around 245,000 automotive technicians, working on 38 million registered vehicles in the UK.
  • As of October 2020 there were 383,000 plug in cars & vans registered. It is predicted that this will increase to between 2.7 to 10.6 million by 2030[i].
  • Taking the top estimate (due to unexpected increase in sales in the past 3 months), the IMI calculates that the UK would need approximately 70,500 qualified technicians to support this vehicle parc.
  • The IMI estimates that there are between 13,000 and 20,000 technicians currently qualified to work on electric vehicles – which means a requirement of between 50,000 and 57,000 technicians by 2030.
  • Pre COVID-19, the market was on course to achieve critical mass; 6,500 certificates for working on electric vehicles were issued in 2019. If that rate had continued the minimum required qualified technicians would have been reached by 2030. However 2020 Q2 numbers were down 85% compared to the same period 2019.

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