Fleet News

More needs to be done to make the switch to plug-in vehicles, says the IMI

Electric and hybrid cars have seen a 47% growth this year, but more needs to be done to encourage motorists to make the switch from diesel and petrol engines to electric and hybrid alternatives, says the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI). 

Though an increasing number of motorists are choosing alternatives, the number of charging stations has only grown by 16% since last year.

The IMI says Britain will fail to remove diesels and in turn improve air quality, if significant investment isn’t made to the number of charging stations across the UK.

Furthermore, the IMI found insurance costs for ultra-low emission vehicles can be up to 50% higher than for petrol or diesels equivalents and warns these won’t become more competitive until more people are qualified to work on them.

Currently, 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.

The IMI believes that the UK will fail to keep up with the global competition for the adoption of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) if the charging infrastructure isn’t drastically improved - and more technicians are given the training required to service these high powered vehicles.

A Government-commissioned report estimates that the new vehicle technologies could contribute £51bn to the UK economy by 2030.

Steve Nash, chief executive at the IMI, said: “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 to help those working in the service & 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 & Hybrid Vehicle qualification along with the appropriate support materials.”

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