With an increasing number of manufacturers stepping up production of hybrid and electric vehicles and announcing they will be fully electric within the next 20-25 years, repairers have a decision to make about their future.
In July, the government announced that new diesel and petrol vehicles will be banned in the UK from 2040 in a bid to tackle air pollution. Since then, several manufacturers have announced their plans. Volvo said in July that every model it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor and it will launch five fully electric vehicles between 2019 and 2021. Jaguar Land Rover has vowed that all new models will be electric or hybrid from 2020 and Volkswagen announced their plans this week to offer an electric version of all its 300 models by 2030. Nissan also plans to start full production of the new Nissan Leaf at its Sunderland plant by the end of this year.
However, The RAC have said that the country is not ready to cope with a sweeping shift to fully electric vehicles and the IMI has found that only 1 percent of all qualified mechanics have been trained to work safely on high-voltage technology – almost all of them work for manufacturer’s franchised dealers rather than independent garages.
Electric vehicle engines have about 20 moving parts compared to around 2000 in an internal combustion vehicle engine. The parts get less wear and need changing less often which will mean less work for repairers. Oil changes could become a thing of the past. But the primary concern is safety – electric vehicles run on more than three times the mains supply, posing a real threat of electrocution. The cost and availability of parts may also be an issue.
Andy Latham, Head of Autofinity Parts says ‘’Electric cars pose a challenge to automotive mechanics, just as the introduction of automatic transmissions, diesel engines and emission control systems did. Although petrol and diesel cars will not disappear overnight, repairers need to think about their future and how they plan to prepare for electric vehicles and stay up to date with developments in the industry.’’