Setting standards

Setting standards

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) recently hosted an Electric Vehicle Advisory Group meeting, designed to begin the process of agreeing appropriate Professional Standards for the protection of technicians working on electric and hybrid vehicles. PMF reports.

Following a poll of IMI Members, where 98% called for regulation of technicians, the IMI has been leading the efforts to secure minimum training standards for technicians working at different levels on electric and hybrid vehicles, from basic maintenance to full diagnostics and repair.

The IMI’s lobbying led to the Department for Transport (DfT) committing to work with the IMI in its ‘Road to Zero’ strategy. In the publication, the DfT confirmed it would be reviewing whether current regulations are sufficient to protect technicians working on electric and hybrid vehicles.

The Electrical Vehicle Advisory Group, led by the IMI, will now be determining the main factors that need to be considered in the Electric Vehicle Professional Standards, and will continue to work together to develop the standards over the coming months.

Steve Nash, Chief Executive at the IMI, said, “There is a real imperative for accepted sector-wide EV Professional Standards before we ‘cross the chasm’ from early-adopters to the majority of consumers embracing EVs in the 2020s. The IMI is proactively developing EV Professional Standards based around existing EV qualifications, IMI Accreditation or accredited training, its code of professional behaviours, and a commitment to Continual Professional Development.

“The EV Sector Advisory Group meeting, where experts from across the industry had a chance to comment and contribute on the requirements, was important to shape the development of the standards that aim to benefit everyone. This is an evolving process and we look forward to further meetings in the months to come.

“Businesses have a legal responsibility to ensure that their staff are appropriately trained, qualified and equipped to undertake work on vehicles which operate at potentially lethal voltages. As the industry’s professional body, we feel it is our job to help them define and be clear about what appropriate training and qualification actually means, by agreeing and establishing common minimum standards for the industry.”

Andy Savva, who was present at the meeting, commented, “I think an Electrified Vehicle Standard would be a good thing, because then we can be measured against something. At the moment, as we’re unregulated, everything is done internally in the motor trade, voluntarily or not. We need something with a little bit of substance to add weight and credibility in the eyes of consumers.

“Technology is always evolving, especially in the last 10-15 years, so as a garage owner, it’s very important to look at your business plan and strategy for the next three to five years. Having said that, we mustn’t all run to train all our staff and buy all the equipment – you really must carry out a business plan based on the demographics of where you are based. Electrification is important, and it’s something to be aware of, but there should be some caution as well.”

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