The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) says it is vital that training and accreditation is extended to those dealing with electric vehicles (EVs) at the roadside.
The trade association has been lobbying for the introduction of regulations for vehicle technicians working with plug-in vehicles.
Recent reports of a Tesla Model X, which caught fire after it had been recovered by emergency services, underline the need for industry-led accreditations and qualifications for roadside technicians and emergency services personnel working on EV and hybrid vehicles, it said.
The IMI’s recommendations to implement a ‘Licence to Practise’ for those working on electric and hybrid vehicles now form part of the Government’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy. The IMI is urging roadside and emergency services to ensure their workforces are equally well prepared.
Steve Nash, chief executive at the IMI, said: “As motoring technology advances, it is vital that any professional coming into contact with these vehicles has the best possible training.
“Of course, there are risks when dealing with petrol and diesel fueled vehicles - electric vehicles aren’t inherently more dangerous. But the reality is that technicians and emergency services have had a lot longer to understand the risks of petrol and diesel fueled vehicles.
“These professionals are currently operating in an unregulated space and we firmly believe that our proposed Licence to Practise, supported by accreditation schemes, will deliver a higher level of competency, skill and safety for technicians and motorists alike.”
Nash believes that a lack of training could put people at risk from serious injury or potentially fatal shock.
“We have lobbied the Government to act now to ensure that a regulatory standard or license to practice is introduced for anybody likely to deal with these vehicles,” he said. “We have put forward detailed proposals for such a regulatory standard and how it can be administered and enforced.”