A failure to properly support the servicing and repair sector will compromise the government’s ambitious plans to end the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars from 2030, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has suggested.
The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has warned the implications for the automotive industry are “monumental”.
Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI said: “Whilst the devil is certainly going to be in the detail, and the IMI welcomes the opportunity to engage with government to provide input for its plans, we are concerned that, as usual, it seems little thought has been given to the swathe of businesses and individuals employed by the automotive industry beyond manufacturing.
“Yet it is this ecosystem – from the distribution chain of car dealers to service and repair and even accident recovery – that fundamentally underpins the government’s ambitions.
“If the new parc of electric vehicles can’t be serviced and repaired safely the whole plan will stall on the starting grid.”
How the UK is phasing out combustion engines
All new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030, while new hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars that can “drive a significant distance without emitting carbon” can continue to be sold until 2035, at which point they too will be banned.
Second-hand cars are unaffected by the ban.
A consultation is also to be launched on phasing out diesel HGVs.
It is part of what the prime minister calls a “green industrial revolution” to tackle climate change and create jobs.
Currently just five per cent technicians in the UK are adequately trained to work on electric vehicles, according to IMI figures.
As of October 2020 there were 383,000 plug in cars and vans registered in the UK, a figure that’s predicted to increase to between 2.7 to 10.6 million by 2030.
Taking the top estimate, the IMI calculates that the UK would need approximately 70,500 qualified technicians to support this vehicle parc.
Steve added: “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 Independent Garage Association (IGA) has shown support for the government’s green agenda but warns many issues remain unresolved.
Stuart James, chief executive of the IGA said: “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.”
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