Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), has welcomed the news that Tata has selected its JLR Bridgwater, Somerset site to host a multi-billion-pound electric car battery plant, or giga factory.

“Such a sign of intent from the UK government to support the Tata decision is encouraging for the whole automotive sector. What we now need is for that intent to filter down to the aftermarket too.”

IMI data clearly shows that the skills gap for those able to work on electric vehicles remains a concern with a potential 16,000 shortfall by 2032 seriously undermining business and consumer confidence in transitioning to zero emissions.

Over 14,800 dedicated technicians undertook the training and qualifications required to obtain IMI TechSafe professional recognition in 2022, boosting the total number of qualified technicians able to safely work on electric vehicles in the UK to 39,000.

However, unless training is accelerated the potential shortfall – which is based on the current predicted EV car parc by 2032 – could have a hugely damaging impact on the government’s targets.

In particular, the IMI is highlighting that previous market expectations of electric vehicles requiring less time for servicing may be misplaced, increasing pressure on a workforce already dealing with an ageing UK car parc.

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The IMI’s latest analysis predicts that by 2030, 107,000 IMI TechSafe-qualified technicians will be needed to work with electric vehicles, increasing to 139,000 by 2032.

“Economic pressures are putting a squeeze on training budgets for new EV technicians and for those who are already IMI TechSafe qualified who will need continuous professional development (CPD) to keep up with technological advancements” added Steve Nash.

“Coupled with the high employment churn, this is putting more pressure on the sector.  If the government does not step up soon with training support, EV-trained technicians will not be available.

“We sincerely hope that the commitment shown in supporting the Tata decision is matched by a commitment to aftermarket training. Otherwise, the government risks scoring an embarrassing own-gal on its decarbonisation target.”

Lisa Watson, director of sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, commented: “Tata’s plan to build a £4billion battery factory in the UK to supply Jaguar Land Rover is much-needed news for the sector.

“Investing in UK electric vehicle (EV) production infrastructure is a vital component in the adoption of EVs and is especially pertinent with the government’s 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles looming. The UK risks falling behind other nations on EV infrastructure, so today’s announcement should restore some confidence, on top of providing jobs and economic benefits.

“What isn’t clear, however, is the subsidy package provided by the government. Though funding is necessary and positive, the UK automotive industry will be hoping that government support will also be available to other businesses who are critical to the progress and success of EV adoption and infrastructure.”

Tim Alcock from said: “The EU has 35 electric car battery plants open, in construction or in planning stages, and currently the UK is significantly behind in these industrial strategies.

“The UK government acknowledges the urgent need for electric vehicle battery manufacturing in the UK to support the rapid uptake of EVs.

“The building of this facility will help bolster the infrastructure required to allow the industry to grow.”

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