Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) welcomes the new earlier deadline for a ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicles but warns that urgent investment need to be made in EV skills training to support this goal.
“The news that the ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles has been brought forward to 2035 is an excellent step in the efforts that need to be made to improve air quality and tackle the threat of climate change. But it brings an added pressure for the automotive retail sector, and specifically the businesses that service and maintain vehicles. Currently just 5% of the sector is appropriately qualified to work on electric vehicles so in the next 15 years the race will be on to get the rest of the workforce up to speed.
“The IMI has been lobbying hard for support from Government to get the technician workforce appropriately qualified. And last October the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) gave its endorsement to the IMI TechSafe™ standards for people working on electrified vehicles. This means that electrified vehicle users can access the IMI Professional Register to check the electric vehicle technical competencies of technicians at their local garage.
“But there is still a big challenge ahead of us to ensure there are sufficient technicians qualified. Those who aren’t properly trained or equipped to work on electrified vehicles would be risking serious injury or potentially fatal shock. It will be interesting to see, therefore, if there is any focus on additional funding for technician training in the Spring Budget next month. Because a lack of qualified technicians will seriously undermine the government’s goals.”
The culmination of detailed work to develop the Electrified Vehicle Professional Standards, championed by the IMI with support from other industry bodies, the new EV TechSafe™ Standards, give technicians an easy way to certify their EV competence. They will centre on EV qualifications, IMI accreditation, accredited training, professional behaviours and a commitment to CPD over an agreed number of years. The standards will comply with the Electricity at Work regulations, which are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
“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”, added Steve Nash. “The EV Professional Standard is a significant step forward to address these concerns, and it will not stand still. The EV TechSafe™ standard will evolve with the technology and the needs of the motor retail industry.”