THE higher cost of insurance is putting off drivers from making the switch from diesel to low-emission vehicles, according to a survey published today.
Research conducted on behalf of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) shows that while 40 per cent of the public are worried about air pollution and see low-emission vehicles as a solution, they are unwilling or unable to pay the increased insurance premiums currently levied on these cars.
As a result they won’t consider buying or leasing one in the near future.
Insurers charge up to 50 per cent more to cover electric and hybrid cars because of the higher purchase price and the current lack of skilled technicians available to repair them.
As things stand, only one per cent of mechanics in the UK have the necessary qualifications to carry out work on the high-voltage systems of ultra low-emission vehicles and they are almost all 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.
The IMI survey was carried out by Vital Research and Statistics. They polled 2,000 UK adults with driving licences in December last year.
Only 17 per cent of respondents thought the extra costs for insurance were a price worth paying for the environmental benefits – even though 38 per cent ranked air pollution as the thing they worried about most.
Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI, said: ‘Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash spent on charging points will be wasted if the government won’t help independent garages and wider industry keep up with the switch to electric.
‘It’s not rocket science. Small businesses are uncertain about future demand for work on electrified cars and won’t risk investing in the skills they need without help from the government. This means insurance and servicing costs will stay out of the reach of many drivers.
‘The government has recognised the most obvious barrier to consumers buying electric cars, which is the charging infrastructure, and it is taking direct steps to address this. However, it needs to recognise that this is the biggest change in the automotive industry for over 100 years and there are other barriers that must be addressed too, not least the skills gap.’
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