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Automotive sector experts discuss EV aftersales qualifications

Steve Nash, chief executive at the IMI

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has hosted a cross-industry group of experts at an Electric Vehicle Advisory Group meeting to discuss a new professional standard for workshop technicians.

Following a poll of IMI Members where 98% called for regulation of technicians, the IMI has been leading the efforts to secure minimum training standards for technicians working at different levels on electric (EVs) and hybrid vehicles, from basic maintenance to full diagnostic and repair.

Yesterday’s (January 5) meeting was designed to begin the process of agreeing appropriate Professional Standards dedicated to protecting technicians working on alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs).

Steve Nash, chief executive at the IMI, said: “There is a real imperative for accepted sector-wide EV Professional Standards before we ‘cross the chasm’ from early-adopters to the majority of consumers embracing EV’s in the 2020’s.

“The IMI is pro-actively developing EV Professional Standards based around existing EV qualifications, IMI Accreditation or accredited training; its code of professional behaviours, and a commitment to Continual Professional Development (CPD). 

“Yesterday’s EV Sector Advisory Group meeting, where experts from across the industry had a chance to comment and contribute on the requirements was important to shape the development of the standards that aim to benefit everyone. This is an evolving process and we look forward to further meetings in the months to come.”

The IMI’s lobbying of the UK Government led to the Department for Transport (DfT) committing in its ‘Road to Zero’ strategy published July 2018 to work with the IMI. 

In the publication the DfT confirmed it would be “reviewing whether current regulations are sufficient to protect mechanics working on electric and hybrid vehicles”, adding that it was “working with the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) to ensure the UK’s workforce of mechanics are well trained and have the skills they need to repair these vehicles safely”.

The Electrical Vehicle Advisory Group, led by the IMI, will now be determining the main factors that need to be considered in the Electric Vehicle Professional Standards, and will continue to work together to develop the standards over the coming months. 

The attendees at yesterday’s forum were: Vipul Dave (Thatcham Research); James Dillon (Techtopics); Peter Ellis (LEVC); Steve Hammond (Toyota); Alan Hayler (Toyota); Paul Killingsworth (PK Automotive); Wayne McCluskey (ZF Services); Maria McCullough (Autocare Garages); Steve Patient (Trustford); Richard Pearson (Direct Line Group); Jane Russell (Russell Automotive Centre); Prof Jim Saker (Loughborough University); Jackie Saville (Autocare); Andy Savva (The Garage Inspector); Eliot Smith (ProMoto); Ben Stockton (Virtual Academy); Andy Turbefield AMIMI (Halfords); Samantha Watkins (Bruntingthorpe); Nuzhat Zumla (Direct Line Group); John Morgan (CEO, IN’n’OUT Autocentres); and Mark Hetzel (IN’n’OUT Autocentres).

Andy Savva from The Garage Inspector said: “I 100% support introducing an Electric Vehicle Professional Standard - I've been calling for that but also general licensing to work on all vehicles. It’s more critical for people who come into contact with electric vehicles because of the safety factor and the injuries that can be caused when people are working on these electric vehicles.”

Nash added: “Businesses have a legal responsibility to ensure that their staff are appropriately trained, qualified and equipped to undertake work on vehicles which operate at potentially lethal voltages.  As the industry’s professional body we feel it is our job to help them define and be clear about what appropriate training and qualification actually means by agreeing and establishing common minimum standards for the industry.”



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