Published on January 31st, 2017 | by Amirul Mukminin


70% of Drivers Putt Off Buying Electric and Hybrid Cars by High Insurance Costs, Survey Reveals

Research conducted on behalf of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) shows that while 40 percent of the public in the United Kingdom have grave concerns about air pollution and see Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) as a solution, they are unwilling or unable to pay the increased insurance premiums currently levied on these cars. As a result, they will not consider buying or leasing one in the near future.

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. But, while the UK government is supporting the development of the charging infrastructure to promote clean cars, it continues to resist any intervention in the market to deal with the serious skills gap.

Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI said, “The government has to recognise that the skill gaps need to be addressed. Small businesses are uncertain about future demand for work on electric cars and 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”.

The electric car survey was conducted by Vital Research and Statistics. They 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 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.

“As the introduction of such vehicles in the market gains momentum, there is definitely a lot more to be done. The IMI is committed to work with our local partners and IMI approved centers to bridge the skills gap, in this rapidly evolving automotive industry” ended Stuart.

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