We reignited our Autotech Talks series this month, with a panel discussion on the effects the 2030 ICE ban will have on the entire automotive industry.
Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI, co-chaired the online event with Autotech Group CEO Gavin White to mark the opening of Autotech Training’s EV Training Suite. In attendance were professionals from across the breadth of the automotive industry, including insurance providers and parts, software and technology suppliers, all of which are supporters of the EV Training Suite.
“We have a diverse collection of partners involved in our new EV Training Suite, and it was important for us to understand what the 2030 legislation means for all of us across different parts of the sector,” explained Gavin White.
Kicking off the proceedings, Gavin posed the question...
How Is the Transformation to EV Affecting You?
Insurance company Marsh Commercial’s Ben Davies observed that the introduction of any new products increases risk, but the combination of electricity opens up a whole new channel of risk – particularly around the subject of liability.
“The liability element could be contested, has the garage owner provided the right training? is the vehicle technician’s qualification relevant to what they are working on? It’s a contentious issue, and a garage is open to prosecution.”
For underwriters, understanding the awareness of people working on the vehicles is key.
Steve Nash commented: “The modern motor industry as we know it evolved after the first world war. To say that this is slightly wild west is an understatement, we’ve jumped forward 100 years. We’re asking someone to work on vehicles without proper training and risk injury to themselves – 800 volts of direct current is going to do more than spoil someone’s day.”
Suppliers to the automotive industry, including Prashant Chopra, co-owner of Autogem, discussed the impact the inevitable arrival of EVs will have on their business – which has been supplying consumables aligned to the internal combustion engine for over half a century: “There won’t be an emissions business in 20 years, but we are adapting ourselves, from parts for the tyre industry to products which help our customers interact with their consumers. We have to be nimble to thrive. There is no other option.”
With the automotive sector at the forefront of change and disruption, the interaction of the industry with its customers through the use of innovative technical tools, was deemed integral to the future. However, BG Product’s Andy Cotton noted that the UK motor trade was lagging behind its US counterparts. Personalised customer video solutions provider, PECUVi Automotive’s Ben Smith, Director was in full agreement: “Video health check improves the consumer experience. Garages and workshops need to be fully transparent as building consumer trust is so important, and they need to adapt themselves to make themselves more relevant to the consumer.”
EV Training Is Essential
Everyone within the panel discussion agreed that the need for training and understanding of electric/hybrid vehicles was essential. From the Government to the vehicle technicians who are expected to service them, and the consumer. As Andy Cotton, surmised: “There are currently 39 million combustion engines on the road in the UK today, and we are expected to replace these within the next decade. However, just half a million EVs plugged in at once will cripple the national grid.”
Technology will need to move forward, however education and training need to be at the forefront. Kevin Kelly, Sales Director for Bosch pointed out: “The automotive industry is resilient, it has always coped with evolution but when there is a hard stop, such as the 2030 deadline, there are concerns. Particularly as bringing new people into the industry appears to have foundered.”
Steve Nash concluded: “There are a lot of voices in this industry – 48 trade bodies - but the Government needs to fill in the gaps. Everything we showed them about EVs blew their mind, but they don’t seem to realise it is an unregulated industry.”
Certified to deliver IMI Levels 1 to 4 Electric/Hybrid vehicle courses, the EV Training Suite has been purposely built within the Autotech Group’s Milton Keynes headquarters. It is supported by key Autotech Training partners, including BP Pulse, Pecuvi, Marsh Commercial, Haynes Pro Technical, Bosch, BG Products, Autogem, BP Experience Centre MK, Our Virtual Academy, Teng Tools, and Auto Service Finance.
To view the full Autotech Talks discussion click here.