The Independent Garage Association is offering heavily discounted training to members amid growing fears that MOT centres are unprepared for electric cars.
The body, which has around 4,000 members, is making 100 Hybrid/EV Level 3 courses available at a 60 per cent reduction.
The packages, offered on a first come, first serve basis, will cost just £250 and aim to bring more garages up to speed.
The offer comes after the Daily Express reported MOT test garages are ‘totally unprepared’ for a surge in electric car sales.
The report went on to claim that hundreds of garages do not have access to a single electric vehicle technician meaning EV owners can’t visit them for repair work.
Stuart James, chief executive of the Independent Garage Association, said: ‘The independent sector needs to be aligning itself with the government’s future plans for EVs, and currently the number of technicians who are qualified to work on the high voltage components in hybrid and electric vehicles is incredibly low.
‘We are totally focused on supporting the sector and using surplus funds to help members grow their businesses and plan for the future, while helping to stimulate growth for EV training, is the right thing to do.’
The courses are being offered at RMI Academy of Automotive Skills sites in Lincoln, Winchester, Southam and Runcorn.
Motor trade ‘won’t be able to cope’
Among those to express concern for the future of MOT centres is Jonathan Barbera, managing director of Parkers MOT garages.
Although he praised EVs for their ‘amazing’ environmental benefits, he has fears over how the new technology could impact drivers and the sector.
He said: ‘Infrastructure wise it doesn’t work across the UK.
‘In the motor trade we haven’t got the right qualified staff or the support to be moving forward.
‘The equipment to work on these vehicles costs a lot, the training costs a lot.
‘We are totally unprepared for it. If there was to be a massive drive and then there was a massive influx of eclectic cars the motor trade would not be able to cope with it.
‘It doesn’t matter which way you look at it – I know hundreds of garages that haven’t got a single electric vehicle technician trained.
‘We haven’t got the charging station let alone the technicians to work on it.
‘It will all be on the main dealers – the people who sell the cars – to maintain them.
‘This can take weeks and weeks and weeks.’
Barbera is now calling on extra financial support from the government to allow garages to dedicate extra funds to training up more technicians.
He has started a petition calling on Downing Street to issue an action plan and offer financial support for the motor trade.
His petition, which needs 10,000 signatures for an official response, has so far been signed over 1,500 times.
He added: ‘The government needs to stop and think before they push EV’s too far.
‘They need to support the motor trade and give businesses grants and discounts off training.
‘They need to do it in a way in which a proportion of the money has to be used for training.
‘I have one member of staff which I want to send for EV training but for me it’s a matter of timing.
‘It’s like becoming an electrician, you do the training and then you have to get it validated.
‘It’s a long term cost and as the technology improves and changes it will need further training.’
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency says that any changes will be made in consultation with the Department for Transport.
A spokesman for the DVSA said: ‘DVSA’s priority is helping everyone keep their vehicle safe to drive.
‘DVSA keeps the MOT under review to see where improvements can be made.
‘All changes are made in consort with the Department for Transport and will involve consultation.’