New research commissioned by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has found that 82 percent of drivers feel they don’t know enough about electric vehicles to switch from their conventional, petrol/diesel, vehicle. Two thirds (66 percent) said they wouldn’t know where to find a charging point and nearly a third said they would never change to electric.
The findings are concerning, especially for the UK Government, which has just set itself a target of 2040 for a complete ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles. Across the country, Londoners seem to be the most unsure about electric vehicle range but are also the most confident about owning and EV. London drivers also seem to be the most confidence about doing basic repairs on an electric vehicle, which, if approached incorrectly, could have potentially fatal consequences.
The IMI study found that three quarters of drivers who hadn't yet made the switch felt extra government subsidies would make electric vehicles more accessible. They also believe government needs to do more to educate car buyers on the benefits of switching from petrol/diesels to low emission vehicles. 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. Yet, more troublingly, over half (59 percent) of respondents said they would be confident to perform basic maintenance tasks on an electric vehicle themselves.
Currently, there is no minimum training benchmark currently in place for technicians and yet car technology is becoming increasingly complex and potentially more hazardous. The IMI is now working with government to implement a Licence to Practise for vehicle technicians working on electric and hybrid vehicles.
“Range anxiety is one of the main reasons drivers are put off making the switch” said Steve Nash, Chief Executive of the IMI. “Yet the IMI found that people’s weekly mileage is between 60-100 miles, which means that most drivers could actually make the switch to an ultra-low emission vehicle and would only need to charge their car once a week. “The fact that over half of motorists thought they could do basic maintenance on an electric vehicle is also 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 recognised 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.”
Image: Vauxhall Ampera
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