Government Green Plan: IMI response


Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry responds to the Prime Minister’s Green Plan

“We knew it was coming, but of course the implications for the automotive industry are monumental; manufacturers now know that they must replace their entire product offering with electrified vehicles in less than 10 years. That can surely only mean that their ranges will shrink significantly compared to today. Let’s hope that consumer choice remains front and centre.

“Whilst the devil is certainly going to be in the detail, and the IMI welcomes the opportunity to engage with government to provide input for its plans, we are concerned that, as usual, it seems little thought has been given to the swathe of businesses and individuals employed by the automotive industry beyond manufacturing. Yet it is this ecosystem – from the distribution chain of car dealers to service & repair and even accident recovery – that fundamentally underpins the government’s ambitions. If the new parc of electric vehicles can’t be serviced and repaired safely the whole plan will stall on the starting grid.

“Currently around just 5% of UK automotive technicians are adequately trained to work on electric vehicles. The ramp-up plan for all those who are likely to work on electrical vehicles – from service and repair technicians to those working in the roadside recovery and blue light sectors – now must be addressed as a matter of urgency. And that means some of that £12bn investment promised by the Prime Minister needs to be put towards skills training.”

“The IMI TechSafe™ standards, endorsed by OLEV at the end of 2019, mean that electrified vehicle users can access the IMI Professional Register to check the electric vehicle technical competencies of technicians at their local garage. But we are currently a long way off achieving a critical mass of technicians qualified, with COVID-19 setting us back significantly in reaching optimum numbers in time for 2035, let alone 2030. Government action is needed urgently to encourage automotive employers to re-ignite their EV training plans.”

Key Facts

  • There are around 245,000 automotive technicians, working on 38 million registered vehicles in the UK. 
  • As of October 2020 there were 383,000 plug in cars & vans registered. It is predicted that this will increase to between 2.7 to 10.6 million by 2030 . 
  • Taking the top estimate (due to unexpected increase in sales in the past 3 months), the IMI calculates that the UK would need approximately 70,500 qualified technicians to support this vehicle parc.
  • The IMI estimates that there are between 13,000 and 20,000 technicians currently qualified to work on electric vehicles – which means a requirement of between 50,000 and 57,000 technicians by 2030.
  • Pre COVID-19, the market was on course to achieve critical mass; 6,500 certificates for working on electric vehicles were issued in 2019. If that rate had continued the minimum required qualified technicians would have been reached by 2030. However 2020 Q2 numbers were down 85% compared to the same period 2019.