THE electric vehicle revolution and the £51bn contribution it is expected to make to the UK economy is at risk if the government doesn’t look at the bigger picture, the Institute of the Motor Industry warned today.
Though motorists are turning their backs on petrol and diesel engines, there is still a serious lack of infrastructure to support EVs, says the professional association. It has found the UK has a 13:1 ratio of electric vehicles to charging points, but adds that this is just one challenge to the government’s ambitions.
The IMI said it also found that insurance costs can be 50 per cent higher for electric and hybrid vehicles compared with petrol or diesels, which it said was a direct consequence of the fact that only one per cent of all technicians were currently trained to work safely on the high-voltage technology. Without government support, this isn’t set to improve, says the IMI, and it believes the UK will be overtaken by the rest of Europe if the government doesn’t take immediate action.
Steve Nash, chief executive at the IMI, said: ‘With almost all technicians currently trained to work on high-voltage technology working exclusively for manufacturers’ franchised dealers, the UK will struggle to be a leading player in new vehicle technology if the government doesn’t build on the basic foundations such as the infrastructure and skills base to support motorists when they make the switch.
‘With a new emissions test being introduced this month, the government is clearly taking this matter seriously. A much-needed investment in the charging infrastructure would, of course, set the UK apart from competitors across the globe. But it is essential that this financial support is spread further to support the service and repair sector, and in particular the independents, to gain the required knowledge.
‘The government is back in office and a new transport committee is in place, so the IMI will continue its campaign for the introduction of a licensing scheme for those working on electric vehicles. We’ve asked the government to contribute £30m to support the uptake of training in order to facilitate the requirements, and the IMI has a new electric and hybrid vehicle qualification to support this.’
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