Brexit warning as electric car ‘skills gap’ risks derailing Johnson’s plan: ‘Concerning!’

Electric cars: Driver reveals struggle in having vehicle serviced

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The head of Halfords, Graham Stapleton, said he is “very concerned” that the Government is not doing enough to address a “skills gap” as Britain plan to get more electric cars on the roads. It comes after the Government said earlier this year that the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans will be banned by 2030.

Westminster has said there are around 500,000 zero and low-emission cars currently on Britain’s roads, but this is tipped to rise to up to 11 million by 2030.

But Mr Stapleton claimed there is expected to be a shortfall of about 35,000 technicians across the UK trained to deal with these vehicles.

He called on the Government to provide support to quickly expand this workforce.

Mr Stapleton said: “There are simply not enough [technicians] and we will have to keep training thousands every year if we want to be anywhere near the levels needed.

“I’ve been talking to the Government because I am very concerned that we need to be training more people, or at least setting out how this process will take place.

“The plans they have laid out to grow the electric car space is obviously really interesting, but there needs to be skills in that space to cope with this.”

This also comes as Britain has been experiencing shortages across major industrial sectors, such as in engineering.

Halfords said it has ramped up its hiring over the last year and boosted its number of apprenticeships that have a focus on the electric vehicle market.

The retailer and motoring services business said it will employ hundreds of extra staff after agreeing to a £62million deal to buy Axle Group, the owner of the National tyre servicing brand.

The deal looks set to help Halfords widen its operations to 1,400 locations.

Mr Stapleton said the business was pleased with efforts to grow consumer recognition of motor services operation.

The Governments drive to get more EV’s on the roads is part of Mr Johnson’s plan for a “green industrial revolution” in Britain and to make the UK a “science superpower” after Brexit.

But the 2030 phase-out date for petrol and diesel cars is also central to UK economic growth and the Government’s levelling-up agenda, according to the Department for Transport.

While Mr Stapleton pointed out a skills gap, Westminster has committed nearly £500million funding to support 169,000 jobs to help industry transition towards zero emission vehicles.

The UK’s 2030 will also make it the fastest G7 country to decarbonise cars and vans if it reaches this target on schedule.

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The next step that the Government has outlined in its ambitious plans for EVs will see all new cars and vans be fully zero-emission at the tailpipe from 2035.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, said: ”The UK is going further and faster than any other major economy to decarbonise transport, harnessing the power of clean, green technology to end the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050.

“Bringing forward the phase-out date could create 40,000 extra jobs by 2030, particularly in our manufacturing heartlands of the North East and across the Midlands, and will see emissions reductions equivalent to taking more than 4 million cars off the road.”

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