Reader email: MOT tester and trainer lists concerns about electric and hybrid vehicles

Official DVSA guidance abundant with anomalies and contradictions, reader claims

Reader email: MOT tester and trainer lists concerns about electric and hybrid vehicles

Craig Ross of Eurofit Autocentres shares a long list of MOT concerns regarding electric and hybrid vehicles with GW Views.

I’m a Qualified MOT tester, trainer and IMI accredited assessor for level three Light Vehicle Maintenance & Inspection Technician, level two Nominated Tester Training and level three MOT Managers, raises concerns about electric and hybrid vehicles.

I have over 40 years experience in the trade and I’m writing in frustration at the anomalies, contradictions and lack of direction at the current rules,
regulations and safeguards when it comes hybrid and electric vehicles presented for testing.

  1. The following government document ‘Hybrid, electric and hydrogen fuel cell systems: guidance for MOT testers‘ makes the following two statements:
    1. “You can’t refuse to carry out an MOT test on one of these vehicles because you’re not familiar with
    2. “If you’re unfamiliar with the vehicle type, ask the customer to explain the starting and moving off procedure and how to make the vehicle safe… You can also look in the owner’s handbook.”

What happens if the customer doesn’t know or is unavailable and what happens if the owners hand book isn’t available?

2. In the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on electric and hybrid vehicles, it states: “Additional skills and training will be necessary to allow people to work safely with electric and hybrod vehicles.”

Yet there is no mention of this in the criteria to become a tester, nor in any DVSA manual, document or special notice?

3. This document contains a comprehensive list of people who could come into contact with electric and hybrid vehicles but fails to list ‘MOT tester’.

4. How does the tester carry out certain steering and under-bonnet checks without the engine running?

5. In the MOT Testing Guide, how does the section under disciplinary, ‘incorrect test methods when applied to Electirc and hybrid vehicles’ it states:

  1. “Did not personally assess any electrical wiring for security and condition statement in the MOT Test Guide”, three points per item.

            ai. “Check condition and security of all visible wiring.”, one major error, no assessment carried out.

     b. “Did not personally assess brake hoses and pipe work with the braking system pressurised and the engine running in the case of servo assisted brakes”, three points.

           bi. “Service brake control check for condition and operation of the vacuum servo with the engine running”, one minor error.

6. How does the tester carry out a decelerometer test if they are not familiar with this type of vehicle?

7. Back in the MOT inspection manual, how does the following refusal to test statement relate to electric and hybrid vehicles?

         “The condition of the vehicle is such that, in the opinion of the tester, a proper examination would involve a danger of injury to any person or damage to the vehicle or other property.”

8. What and where are the guidelines on PPE when testing this type of vehicle?

9. How do you find out the appropriate weight to comply with following note in the MOT Inspection Guide:

        “If the vehicle is electrically powered, their unladen weight must not include the weight of the batteries.”

10. Does the above statement apply to hybrid vehicles?

11. What do you do if you are unsure whether the following statements in the MOT inspection manual apply:

  1. “AEs and their staff are reminded of their obligation to adhere to all relevant health and safety legislation while MOT testing. Further advice can be obtained from your local health and safety
    enforcement officer or local authority environmental health officers as appropriate.”
  2. “You should take care when testing electric and hybrid vehicles as there may be high voltage present at any one of several points around the vehicle, including storage capacitors and batteries.”
  3. “On hybrid vehicles, the engine may start without warning when electrical equipment is operated or if the battery voltage drops.”

I hope by bringing the up these points we can develop a forum for discussion with the DVSA.

I have tried writing to them but they seem to have their heads in the sand and don’t reply.

Share your comments below.

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  • #185664 Reply

    Craig Ross of Eurofit Autocentres shares a long list of MOT concerns regarding electric and hybrid vehicles with GW Views. I’m a Qualified MOT tester,
    [See the full post at: Reader email: MOT tester and trainer lists concerns about electric and hybrid vehicles]

    #187477 Reply
    Andy Coulton

    Hi Craig
    I feel your pain. This is a part of the MOT that hasn’t been properly thought through.
    We (at Prosol UK) are currently working on some information products to fill this knowledge gap. In the not too distant future we hope to have the Start, Move and Make Safe protocols for all relevant vehicles available for Testers, along with unladen weights (minus the battery) for electric vehicles.
    With regard to PPE, this cannot really be mandated by DVSA, you have to conduct your own risk assessment. However, we will be releasing a basic EHV (Electric and Hybrid Vehicle) PPE Pack for MOT Testers very shortly. This will comprise of Dielectric Gloves, Face Shield with Arc Protection Visor and Dielectric Safety Overboots. All these products are available on our website at the moment.

    #187491 Reply

    I had this very same problem back in 2014/15 when I was presented with the Toyota Prius. I’d no idea it was anything different to an ICE car until I repeatedly tried to start the engine and nothing happened. I went to my AE (that’s another story) and advised I could not start the car, and the reply came back ask the customer?

    The customer was long gone. I eventually saw the GREEN ready light and realized that it was a hybrid/electric vehicle. Once the car was moving the engine started and I got it into the test bay, but starting the engine for steering/exhaust checks (not emissions) I was advised to let the batteries drain until the engine started!

    Let the batteries drain, how long would that take?

    I did the best I could at that time and if a VE would have been present and pointed the finger it would have been no problem at all, I’d of given him my smart card and said good by job done.

    After that worrying period of time I knew that my AE would never work with the tester to help train or get any information to test these cars, so out my own pocket I booked myself on a level II electric/hybrid training course, which gave me some insight into these types of cars.

    Tom Denton from the IMI has written a very good book called “Electric and Hybrid Vehicles” ISBN 978-138-84237-3. At this time without going on a college training course that is about the best a tester can get to gain an insight into these vehicles. I have it and it is a very good well written book.

    The IMI also have am introduction to electric vehicles on their website costs about £15 I think, again it will provide a good insight into these vehicles.

    With regards DVSA and their help at this time, I’m sure they are in the same position as the rest of us, it is all brand new technology to us out here in the real world, and I’m sure DVSA staff are not trained in it all either.

    #188368 Reply

    I agree with all the concerns mentioned.

    The vast majority of vehicles being tested have been available in the UK market for 3 years so there is really no excuse for detailed, model specific, information not being available from the DVSA.

    #188692 Reply
    Thomas Williams

    While there are some valid points raised, it seems to me there is some exaggeration of the difficulty. I can see that we need to be aware of some modification to test procedure. However, much of the advice appears to have been written by those with little day to day experience of testing. The Toyota Prius has been on UK roads for approaching twenty years. Many testers would have tested their first hybrid around 15 years ago. After some initial head scratching it became obvious they are quite easy to test, with little in the way of extra risk. Repair and service of the HV system itself does require extra training, but this is not necessary to carry out a safe MOT test. The biggest issue is likely to be the weight and size of the larger EVs where the batteries alone can weigh in excess of 600kg. Some Test stations, possibly those operating under Grandfather’s rights, may struggle to hoist and jack these safely.

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