This month, our contributors have their say on the topic of electric and hybrid vehicles and how the recent announcement by the government to ban petrol and diesel engines by 2040 could affect their businesses.
Managing Director, Autosupplies (Chesterfield)
The electric vehicle proposals raise more questions than answers and create uncertainty about the future of the combustion engine, but the technology is available for the aftermarket to take advantage of this opportunity and stay ahead of the curve.
These big-name VMs clearly feel there is a demand for this type of vehicle, but we also need to consider the ambitions of any government. Before any changes take effect, the government may force alterations by introducing new legislation.
The recent announcements signify a change in the future of parts distribution. Whether we in the aftermarket like it or not, VMs are the ones to dictate the changing vehicle parc.
The parts we stock look set to change as combustion engine components could experience a downward trend, if the proposals go ahead. That said, the ban applies to all ‘conventional petrol and diesel cars’ by 2040. Hybrid cars, which combine a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor, will still be permitted.
The discussion on electric vehicle charging infrastructure and capacity already feels a well-trodden path. Surely smoking has a more detrimental effect on a person’s health than petrol and diesel vehicles.
In an era of contradictory politics, anything can happen. How can we be serious about reducing emissions but look to extend the first vehicle emissions test (MOT) from three to four years? We recognise the good intentions behind the move, but it is evident that electric vehicles will not be the dominant vehicle type any time soon.
Proprietor, Scotlands Ash Garage
While I was probably not alone in quickly doing the calculations on whether I’d be alive when the government plans to ban petrol and diesel vehicles (thankfully, the answer should be yes), the sheer comprehension of such a seismic shift in our market cannot be underestimated.
As ever, such an announcement (at a time when politicians are supposed to be relaxing on holiday) has created more questions than answers. I can’t recall a time when so many outside influencers affected the shape of business in our sector. MOT extensions, block exemption, type approval and the growing electric vehicle parc to name but four all have the ability to significantly change the trade beyond recognition.
With recent announcements, it is important that independent workshops invest in developing technology to ensure we can accommodate the changing customer base.
As an independent garage we have always been forward thinking and have chosen to look ahead rather than stay comfortable. Although it may be a long way down the line, the rise of electric and hybrid vehicles is something to be conscious of.
Technicians are fully aware of the challenges involved in servicing electric vehicles and therefore we need to prepare and ensure our staff are properly trained and equipped with the appropriate knowledge and equipment before we make any commitments.
The way we test, service and repair vehicles has been changing for some time, electric vehicles are only just part of an equation that requires us to take a more wholesome approach.