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Technicians at independent garages could face deadly EV safety issues, warns IMI

Electric car's engine

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has urged independent garages to invest in training for its technicians as EV sales reach a record high.

The Motor industry body has voiced concerns for the safety of technicians following SMMT’s report that electric vehicle sales have increased by 61%, the IMI stating that garages and bodyshops could be forced into potentially deadly situations without any formal training.

IMI chief executive Steve Nash said: “Over 80% of vehicle technicians currently qualified to work on electric vehicles are in the manufacturer franchise network.

"But this leaves a significant proportion of mechanics in the independent sector not yet suitably equipped to work on electric vehicles.”

With support from the automotive sector, the IMI has been lobbying for the introduction of regulation for any vehicle technician servicing and repairing electrically-propelled vehicles in order to set a benchmark standard of training requirements.

“Whilst, at the moment electric vehicles are largely maintained by the franchise marketplace, as these vehicles mature they will move into the independent sector,” said Nash.

“We are therefore urging independent dealerships and garages to invest in quality training to ensure their employees are equipped with the knowledge and skills to repair and service new technology. 

"Otherwise they are going to struggle to compete in a sector that is experiencing such change.

“We have lobbied the government to act now to ensure that a regulatory standard is introduced for anybody likely to deal with these vehicles and we have gained commitment from the DfE to work with us on this, which has been written into their recently published Road to Zero strategy document.

"The IMI have put forward detailed proposals for such a regulatory standard, including evidence of implementation and broad support from across the sector.”

The IMI has launched a new Electric Vehicle training package that includes an accessible eLearning platform to allow technicians to complete their training in their own time.

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