Electric Cars are Accidents Waiting to Happen

Each day there seems to be another announcement about a newly developed Electric Vehicle (EV) that is going to revolutionise the way we mov...

Each day there seems to be another announcement about a newly developed Electric Vehicle (EV) that is going to revolutionise the way we move about on the roads of the future. But have you considered that amongst all the news about the race to produce the world’s best electric car, there is an area that we are all forgetting about? The UK’s Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) believes that unless there is government action, mechanics of the future will end up killing themselves or their customers, if unqualified cowboys are allowed to work on them.

It seems a little farfetched in some ways, as we're sure that most mechanics and owners will fully understand that you will need a specialist to work on the new breed of electric vehicles. But it is a fact that electric-powered vehicles can contain circuits running at more than three times the 240 volts found in the UK mains supply, posing a real risk of electrocution and fire unless properly handled.

Steve Nash, the IMI’s chief executive, said there was a pressing need to set up a licensing system for electric car mechanics to ensure that they were properly trained. “Sooner or later somebody is going to attempt to do something they shouldn’t do and they are going to fry themselves. That will either be the person working on it who gets a 600- or 700-volt shock or it might be a member of the public exposed to a fire risk,” he said. “It’s that serious. It’s not scaremongering. It’s real.”

The UK has about 180,000 car mechanics, of which only about 40,000 are on the IMI’s professional register and of all of these, there are only 1,000 mechanics who are trained to fix the 45,000 EV’s that are currently on the road in the UK.

Nash said that once electric cars start to take over petrol vehicles and the work for traditional car mechanics begin to dwindle, “the temptation to have a go becomes greater. We need people who are at least qualified to the level where they know how to make the car safe before even trying the routine things like working on the brakes,” he said. “There is the very real risk that someone might say, ‘Well, I’ll have a go.’

It may all sound like a bit of scaremongering but there is graphic evidence that when electric cars go wrong, the results can be spectacular. Just last month, a USD75,000 Tesla Model S was destroyed after bursting into flames at a charging station in Gjerstad, Norway. There has not been an announcement as to why this happened, but the Elon Musk’s boys are investigating. Of course Tesla was quick to state that despite the unfortunate accident, EV’s are still safer than their petrol-powered cousins.

A government spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring the UK is a global leader in all aspects of ultra-low-emission vehicles and are supporting the automotive industry to develop the skilled workers it needs to deliver our ambitions.”

image: vg.no


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