Institute of the Motor Industry issues safety warning as London Motor Show showcases new motoring tech


Ahead of the opening of the London Motor Show, research* commissioned by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), has revealed a widespread lack of awareness about the benefits – and risks – of electric motoring.   82% of drivers said they feel they don’t know enough about electric vehicles to wave goodbye to their petrol/diesel. Two thirds (66%) said they wouldn’t know where to find a charging point and nearly a third say they will never change to electric.

As concerning, the IMI research also identified the lack of knowledge about the expertise and training required to service and maintain electric vehicles.  The professional body for the automotive sector found that 9 in 10 drivers are not aware of the current training and qualifications necessary for technicians to work on an electrified vehicle. And, more troublingly, over half (59%) of respondents said they would be confident to perform basic maintenance tasks on an electric vehicle themselves, with London drivers appearing to be the most confident about doing basic repairs on an electric vehicle. However, attempting to work on an electric vehicle without the right training could have potentially fatal consequences.

With no minimum training benchmark currently in place for technicians and car technology becoming increasingly complex and potentially more hazardous, the IMI is working with government to implement a Licence to Practise for vehicle technicians working on electric and hybrid vehicles. Recently the IMI’s Chief Executive met with the Parliamentary Secretary of State for the DfT to discuss its recommendations.

Steve Nash, Chief Executive at the IMI, said:

“The fact that over half of motorists thought they could do basic maintenance on an electric vehicle is a huge concern.  With technology in vehicles moving at a record pace it’s more important than ever that those undertaking service, maintenance and repair are regularly trained and properly qualified to a recognized standard. This guarantees their safety in working on and around high-voltage systems and ensures that the owners of electrified vehicles can have confidence that their vehicles are in competent hands.

“The IMI has outlined three recommendations for the government to consider when it comes to supporting the automotive retail sector’s transition from internal combustion engines to advanced Hybrid and Electric powered vehicles. The risk to health and safety is very real and needs to be addressed with urgency.  It is also vital that the regulatory mechanisms are in place to support businesses that will come into contact with these vehicles and will be made to defer business because of the lack of skills.