Is the UK ready to go electric?

Electric and hybrid cars have seen a 47% growth this year. Yet, according to the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), the government is a far cry away from scrapping diesel and petrol cars and vans in a bid to improve air quality.

Though an increasing number of motorists are choosing to switch to electric and hybrid alternatives, the number of charging stations has only grown by 16% since last year and technicians trained to work safely on the high-voltage technology remains at one per cent. The IMI says Britain will fail to remove diesels and petrol’s and in turn improve air quality, if significant investment isn’t made to the number of charging stations across the UK. Furthermore, the IMI found insurance costs for ultra-low emission vehicles can be up to 50% higher than for petrol or diesels equivalents and warns these won’t become more competitive until more people are qualified to work on them.

The IMI believes that the UK will fail to keep up with the global competition for the adoption of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) if the charging infrastructure isn’t drastically improved – and more technicians are given the training required to service these high powered vehicles. A government-commissioned report estimates that the new vehicle technologies could contribute £51bn to the UK economy by 2030.

Steve Nash, chief executive at the IMI, said, ‘the announcement shows the government are all stick and no carrot – much more needs to be done if the UK is to realise the £51bn contribution from new vehicle technologies that the government is pursuing by 2030. That is contingent upon the UK being a leading player, but we must start with the basics by ensuring that we have the infrastructure and skills base to support motorists making an easy transition from petrol and diesel to electric and hybrid. A greater and more rapid investment in the charging infrastructure and financial support to help those working in the service & repair sector, most particularly the independent operators, to gain the skills to work on the new technologies.’