LONDON, April 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
An independent academic report, published on 13th April, will warn the Government to make significant investment in charging infrastructure and upskilling of the UK motor industry or risk missing out on major economic benefits in the future.
The Author of the report, Professor Jim Saker of Loughborough University, says that 320,000 jobs could be created and £51bn per year generated into the UK economy but only if the Government acts strategically to make charging low emission cars convenient to drivers, and to make sure there are enough qualified people to service and repair them.
The report, which was commissioned by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), will be presented to a cross-party group of MPs on Wednesday 13th April by Professor Jim Saker and IMI CEO Steve Nash. They will highlight the need for the Government to focus on protecting both the economic growth of the motor industry, and the safety concerns across the sector. Electric vehicles are powered by 600 volt battery units and pose a serious danger of death to untrained personnel.
With 81% of independent garages struggling to recruit highly skilled technicians and the UK retail motor industry failing to attract young people into technical roles; it's clear that unless a proactive strategy is undertaken the UK will not be able to support the growth of future car technology safely. Saker suggests the Government make it illegal for untrained technicians to work on electric and hybrid vehicles with a license to practice in order to drive investment in the necessary training.
With only 1,000 technicians in the UK currently qualified with a Level 4 in Electric and Hybrid Car Maintenance, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) believes it is likely that the potential benefits to the UK economy from this development will not be realised.
Professor Jim Saker said:
"The UK by the nature of its size and geography has a natural advantage in the rapid adoption of vehicles with the new power train technologies, but it is dependent on Government investment to pump prime this initiative.
Without proper regulation a skills gap will emerge with only a limited number of technicians working in the franchised sector being able to service and repair new technology vehicles. If this trend is found to be true then it is likely that the independent sector of the retail automotive sector will decline. This will mean that the market will fail to open up and develop to the benefit of the UK economy."
Steve Nash, IMI CEO, said:
"The potential growth for the UK economy is immense, and we are calling on the Government to act now in order to reap the financial rewards. To avoid further skills shortages across the sector there is an urgent need for a higher skilled workforce.
We have seen growth of more than 20% in alternatively fuelled vehicles with Tesla announcing orders of £7bn in only two days for their new model. It's vital we take the appropriate steps now if we want to ensure that the UK has the skilled workforce it needs across the whole industry to support and service these vehicles.
This will only be possible if appropriate actions are taken with some urgency to avoid a serious and growing skills shortage, most particularly in the non-franchised part of the automotive sector."
Professor Jim Saker and the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) Chief Executive, Steve Nash, are hosting a meeting in Parliament on Wednesday 13th April to discuss the independent academic report.
Notes to Editor
- The overall economic and social benefit of EVs, connected and autonomous vehicles could be in the region of £51bill per year by 2030.
- The nature and geographical structure of the UK presents the opportunity for the country to be world leading in the implementation of the new technologies.
- Government should commit to supporting the installation of 1,250 hydrogen refueling stations across the UK.
- Government should make it illegal for unregistered technicians to work initially on EV and FCEV cars from 2016 with the scheme being rolled out for all technicians by 2020.
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SOURCE Institute of the Motor Industry