Tim O'Brien | Feb 23, 2010

THE RISK OF ELECTRIC SHOCK and possible injury or death to repairers of electric vehicles has prompted Victorian motor industry body, VACC, to call for industry-wide consultation on electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids.

VACC is calling on the State and Federal Government to act to address standards, industry training needs and licensing for the service and repair of these vehicles.

“VACC is all for the introduction of electric vehicles and we welcome the breakthrough in technology and the mind-shift towards alternative power that will lead to greener and more-sustainable vehicles on our roads,” VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said.

With nearly every major manufacturer involved in the production of, or planning for, electric and hybrid vehicles, VACC fears that failure to assist the industry to prepare "could lead to tragic consequences".

"Working on an electric vehicle is a dangerous activity and that is why we believe the automotive industry should be involved in discussions (with Government) regarding training, regulation, national standards and licensing," Mr Purchase said.

VACC has a point here: the service and repair sector is poorly prepared for the introduction of electric vehicles. While it will unlikely be an issue for motorists in the first few years of their introduction (as only approved dealerships will be equipped to service them), that may change as these vehicles age.

Once out of the warranty period, service, repair and maintenance traditionally then falls to independent repairers. The industry will need rapid training on the technology if it is not to pose risk.

As a BMW F1 technician discovered in July 2008, even a Formula 1 car fitted with a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) can supply a severe shock.

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