Research conducted on behalf of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) shows that 40 percent of the public in the UK are unwilling or unable to pay the increased insurance premiums currently levied on electric and hybrid cars. As a result, they will not consider buying or leasing one in the near future.
This despite them having grave concerns about air pollution and acknowledging Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) as a solution.
Insurers in the UK charge up to 50 percent more to cover electric and hybrid cars because of the higher purchase price, and the current lack of skilled technicians available to repair them.
Currently, only 1 percent of mechanics have the necessary qualifications to carry out work on the high-voltage systems of ULEVs, and they are almost exclusively employed within franchised dealers. The public are similarly concerned with the lack of charging points available to service electric and hybrid cars, according to the IMI research.
Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI said, “Governments have to recognise that the skill gaps need to be addressed. Small businesses are uncertain about future demand for work on electric cars. Thus, they will not risk investing in the skills they need to service these cars if the government does not contribute in this.
“The high insurance and servicing costs will continue to be a hindrance for drivers. Consequently, car buyers will still be attracted to diesel cars as the most cost effective alternative, keeping them on our roads in significant numbers for decades to come,” he warned.
The electric car survey polled 2,000 UK adults with driving licenses. Only 17 percent of respondents thought the extra costs for insurance for ULEVs were a price worth paying for. 18 to 24 year olds were more willing to pay higher insurance costs and only 9 percent of those over 55 years old would pay the extra cost.
“Many countries, including Malaysia, have been actively pursuing the green agenda and encouraging drivers to switch to electric cars. In addition to ensuring the infrastructure is ready and available, the country’s government also has the responsibility to make sure that drivers can afford to make that switch. The skills issue identified by the IMI is major obstacle that needs to be looked at urgently”, said Matthew Stuart, Senior Manager of IMI South-East Asia.
He added that the IMI has been working closely with Malaysia’s government to provide training support across a network of community colleges focusing on electric and hybrid vehicles, in line with the country’s aim to be a regional energy-efficient vehicle (EEV) hub.
One of these is the Kepala Batas Community College, which to-date has equipped more than 230 EEV candidates with IMI’s international qualifications.