IMI: electrocution warnings ‘not scaremongering’

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is urging government to step in to prevent unqualified mechanics risking their lives by working on electric vehicles.

In the coming weeks the IMI will launch a campaign to persuade government to introduce regulations surrounding electric car servicing, arguing that mechanics without the proper training are putting their lives and the lives of their customers in danger.

Steve Nash, IMI chief executive, said, ‘Sooner or later somebody is going to attempt to do something they shouldn’t do and they are going to fry themselves. That will either be the person working on it who gets a 600- or 700-volt shock or it might be a member of the public exposed to a fire risk. It’s that serious. It’s not scaremongering. It’s real.”

There are about 180,000 car mechanics in the country, only 1,000 of whom are trained to work on the 45,000 electric cars on our roads.

Steve believes that, as electric cars become more popular, untrained mechanics will be tempted to try their hands at repairs with a proper appreciation of the risk.

He said, ‘We need people who are at least qualified to the level where they know how to make the car safe before even trying the routine things like working on the brakes. There is the very real risk that someone might say, ‘Well, I’ll have a go.’

‘They [electric motors] are potentially lethal if people don’t know what they should do on them.

‘The unfortunate thing is the electric car looks pretty much like any other car from the outside, but it’s very different under the bonnet.’

However, despite the risk, Steve says the government is ‘vehemently anti-regulation.’

A government spokesperson said, ‘We are committed to ensuring the UK is a global leader in all aspects of ultra-low-emission vehicles and are supporting the automotive industry to develop the skilled workers it needs to deliver our ambitions.’