Garages face safety issues with EV numbers rising

Garage servicing businesses could be facing safety issues as the number of electric vehicles (EV) in the UK continues to rise.

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has warned that with sales of EV and alternative fuel vehicles (AFV) growing in the country by 61% in August, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), vehicle technicians need to undergo training on the technology. Otherwise, they could risk serious, if not fatal; injury should something go wrong when servicing.

The body warns that many drivers are unaware that there is not currently any regulation surrounding the training of vehicle technicians, the IMI fears that garages and body shops could be forced into potentially deadly situations where their workforce is carrying out routine work on these vehicles without any formal training.

With support from the automotive sector, the IMI has been lobbying for the introduction of regulation for any vehicle technician servicing and repairing electrically-propelled vehicles in order to set a benchmark standard of training requirements.

Steve Nash, chief executive at the IMI, comments: ‘Over 80% of vehicle technicians currently qualified to work on electric vehicles are in the manufacturer franchise network. But this leaves a significant proportion of mechanics in the independent sector not yet suitably equipped to work on electric vehicles.

‘While, at the moment electric vehicles are largely maintained by the franchise marketplace, as these vehicles mature they will move into the independent sector. We are therefore urging independent dealerships and garages to invest in quality training to ensure their employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills to repair and service new technology. Otherwise, they are going to struggle to compete in a sector that is experiencing such change.

‘We have lobbied the government to act now to ensure that a regulatory standard is introduced for anybody likely to deal with these vehicles and we have gained a commitment from the Department for Transport to work with us on this, which has been written into their recently published Road to Zero strategy document. The IMI has put forward detailed proposals for such a regulatory standard, including evidence of implementation and broad support from across the sector.’

The UK is looking to ban petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040, meaning the country will rely on hybrid, hydrogen and EV technology. However, with no requirement for technicians to train in how to work on these vehicles, the country could find itself in a situation where the number of trained workshops will be too low to service the number of vehicles on the road.

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