18 May 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

Hybrid and electric power threatened by underinvestment warns IMI

More UK motorists than ever are choosing electric and hybrid vehicles but the trend could be threatened if infrastructure investment does not keep pace, the IMI has warned.

While electric and hybrid cars have seen 47% growth this year according to figures from the DVSA, the number of charging stations has only grown by 16% since last year.In addition, only 1% of all technicians have been trained to work safely on the high-voltage technology, of which almost all of them work exclusively for franchised dealers.

There is also an overall financial incentive. A government-commissioned report from the IMI last year estimated that new vehicle technologies could contribute £51bn to the UK economy by 2030.

Steve Nash, chief executive at the IMI, says: “Much more needs to be done if the UK is to realise the £51bn contribution from new vehicle technologies that the government is pursuing by 2030. That is contingent upon the UK being a leading player, but we must start with the basics by ensuring that we have the infrastructure and skills base to support motorists making an easy transition from petrol and diesel to electric and hybrid.

“A greater and more rapid investment in the charging infrastructure and financial support is needed to help those working in the service and repair sector, most particularly the independent operators, to gain the skills to work on the new technologies.

“The IMI is continuing its campaign for the introduction of a licensing scheme for those working on the high voltage vehicles, and we’ve asked the government to contribute £30m to support the uptake of the necessary training. In order to facilitate this and help clarify the competencies required for working on these vehicles, the IMI has launched a new Electric and Hybrid Vehicle qualification along with the appropriate support materials.”