The Hammond Budget has brought the issue of electric car repairs and servicing back to the forefront with its £400 million commitment to building up the UK’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
No funds were specified to support electric vehicle training in the repair sector, which suggests that this vital aspect of the so-called electric vehicle revolution has once again been overlooked.
This could be down to the fact that an electric car supposedly requires little maintenance due to a fewer number of moving parts in its engine. However, that represents just one aspect of vehicle maintenance and repair, and the cars will still require regular servicing and MOT as with any other.
It’s already understood that dealerships will benefit the most from electric vehicle servicing and repairs business rather than independent garages, as these repair centres are more likely to have the funds to train technicians. The impact this will have on independent repairers over time will be significant without external funding.
And it’s not just garages that will need training. In a breakdown situation, the recovery services will also require both the tools and the skills to get an electric car moving again, otherwise it will be a case of towing it to the nearest specialist dealership.
Steve Nash, CEO of Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), voiced concerns following the Budget release. “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 manufacturers’ franchised dealers. We believe that the UK will fail to keep up with the global competition for the adoption of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) if more technicians aren’t given the training required.
“We must ensure the UK has the skills base to support motorists making an easy transition from petrol and diesel to electric and hybrid. Financial support to help those working in the service and repair sector, most particularly the independent operators, is crucial.”