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SMMT creates best practice guide for electric vehicles

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has started to develop an industry-wide electric vehicle (EV) training programme which it intends to act as best practice for the automotive sector.

Prioritising the emergency and breakdown services, the guide will cover all stakeholders, including manufacturers, dealerships and technicians.

The EV training programme will establish consistent technical competency levels, ensuring the safe and sustainable growth of the industry as technology begins to come to market.

Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: “Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are exciting new technologies that will become increasingly popular options for motorists, so it is essential that the people involved in service, repair and roadside assistance are properly prepared.”

The SMMT has partnered with the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), the Professional Association and Sector Skills Council for the automotive retail sector to help form the electric vehicle training.

Everitt said: “Additional support from Semta, the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies, will ensure that the training programme meets sector demand while working with employers to drive awareness of the need to up-skill staff to deal with EVs.

“The new training programme will draw upon existing EV training requirements and understanding, developing the skills, competencies and expertise to produce a standardised guide to be used industry-wide. Key groups are set to be fully trained by the end of the year, with the scheme extended to all stakeholders in 2011.”

Nissan's Leaf will go on sale in January 2011, Mitsubishi already has an electric specialist dealer set up with Inchcape for its i-Miev electric vehicle and Renault is preparing to launch a whole range of electric vehicles next year. Renault has said it wants 30% of its sales to come from electric vehicles by the middle of the next decade.

At AM’s latest Executive Breakfast Club in London, delegates expressed concern over the impact on aftersales by the introduction of electric cars, which need significantly less time in the workshop.

While it doesn’t pose a short term threat to aftersales revenues, as electric vehicles are mass introduced into the UK market over the next 10 years, dealers and manufacturers both need to plan on “how to make money from it” as one dealer described it.

Head to AM’s forum to discuss how the introduction of electric vehicles will impact on servicing revenues in the medium to long-term future.

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