Are Our Mechanics Ready For EVs?

Mon 7th Dec 2020

A major motoring body in the UK has warned that the industry might not be equipped to deal with a fast-track road to all electric vehicles.

Following Boris Johnson’s pledge to take the UK to a ban on all petrol and diesel engines by 2030, the Institute of the Motor Industry has said that just one in twenty technicians are currently qualified and certified to safely work on electric vehicles and battery-powered cars.

The IMI has penned an open letter which says the industry faces a race against time in order to get technicians fully trained to be able to cope with the additional demand as more and more consumers switch to electric ahead of the 2030 deadline.

‘Yes, we have Electricity at Work regulations, but right now only five per cent of the technicians working in garages and dealerships are appropriately qualified to work on these vehicles,” the letter said.

'This is the real context to the government’s Green Plan. 

'Unless we start to discuss these issues, that plan will be compromised and – much more important – the UK won’t meet its net zero targets and we’ll imperil our next generation’s future.'

The IMI says there are between 13,000 and 20,000 qualified technicians dealing with potentially 380,000 plug-in cars and vans, and that only 6,500 electric vehicle certificates were issued in 2019. And while they were full of praise for the ambitious plans to go greener, they say action needs to be taken now to ensure that the workforce is ready for the switch.

‘As a country, we urgently need a concerted, ongoing workforce development strategy,' the letter continues.

'The automotive workforce is already behind in the skills required for these emerging technologies – through no fault of its own. 

'Embattled employers need support and incentives to get more of their technicians trained, and to re-ignite recruitment and apprenticeship plans.'