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AM Online

EV threat to aftersales and workshop safety

IMI chief executive Steve Nash

The Institute of Motor Industry has repeated calls for new standards for EV technicians, stating that workshop injuries could result from charges that are “worse than being plugged into the electric chair.”

In a Financial Times feature which highlighted industries facing a threat from technology – including online travel webs-sites threat to High Street travel agents and driverless cars to motor insurers – IMI chief executive Steve Nash suggested that EV cars are a threat to garages.

Low-maintenance electric cars will contain virtually no moving parts and virtually nothing mechanical to go wrong under the bonnet, the FT said, adding that a shift away from vehicles powered by diesel and petrol engines “spells trouble for the thousands of garages”.

Nash said: “Electric motors need virtually nothing doing to them.”

He added that “because they look like cars, politicians assume that someone who works on cars will be able to adapt themselves to it,” before highlighting the differences, calling for specialist training and legislation to protect the industries against the health and safety risks posed by electric vehicles.

Nash said: “The stakes of tampering with an electric car without sufficient training are high. An electric car battery can produce 3-400 volts of electric current. That is worse than being plugged into the electric chair.”

In the same article Philippe Houchois, an automotive analyst at Jefferies, told the FT that the effects of EV vehicles will be equally felt by the franchised dealer network, which increasingly relies on aftersales to bolster profits as margins shrink.

Houchois said: “The business of selling cars is very low margin. But as long as we have cars with an internal combustion engine the repairs will continue to be the main source of earnings for dealers.”

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