Electric Vehicle Revolution: How This Affects Your Shop

Now, we have talked about how electric vehicles are affecting the big companies and the government but now let’s tie it all together how this all boils down to affect your shop. New vehicles require new tools and more training, this is not a secret. What you may not be aware of however is the magnitude of the changes these electric vehicles pose for you and your shop. As I mentioned previously both the corporations and countries around the globe all plan on going electric and it will be up to you to make sure you are prepared.

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The first thing you need to do is make sure that you are properly trained to work on these new battery powered vehicles. While you may believe that you are skilled enough vehicle technician and do not need additional training that is most likely not the case. According to the UK’s Institute of the Motor Industry 97% of active mechanics are not qualified to work on electric cars. This is a staggering number and just reaffirms what we have been discussing, this is not the end of the world however as there is a numerous training programs you can take part in for little or no cost to you. Even if you decide against taking these courses here are some things that the new wave of mechanics in the industry are going to be trained in:

Advanced Energy Storage
Advanced Energy Storage is an introduction to energy storage systems for electric vehicles. It covers the fundamentals of energy conversion including thermodynamics, chemical energy storage in fuels and hydrogen, electrochemical systems for storing energy, battery chemistry in charging and discharging batteries, and the sustainability of advanced energy storage systems. This course also compares the environmental effects of current fossil-fueled energy systems and conversion processes with more sustainable systems using renewable energy and more efficient conversion processes.

The new wave of electric vehicles coming in is far different than other big changes in the industry lately. These fixes aren’t just about new tools like when power steering was introduced rather it is a pivot from less physical tools and more diagnostic tools on your computer/ mobile device. The reasoning behind this logic is think about what jobs electric vehicles do not require, there's no fluids drain, no oil to change, no transmission system to fix, and no spark plug to change. They have far less moving parts than a vehicle that runs on fossil fuel which changes what your shop will focus on to thrive as a business. For instance there was a test done where a Tesla Model S, Mercedes S-Class, and a Lincoln Town Car all drove 300,000 miles and then tallied the maintenance costs after the fact. At the end of the trip the Tesla only needed $6,900 worth of work while the Mercedes and Lincoln needed $52,000 and $28,000 respectively. While a lot of your usual jobs would be cut down significantly there are still a bunch of jobs that would need to be done (brakes, tires, axles, framework) and on top of that opportunity for new jobs like replacing damaged batteries and control circuit boards, and performing diagnostics on a vehicle's control panel. This means you are going to have to train yourself to be more like an IT person with a car lover's mind.

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My last issue I would like to bring up is the threat of these electric car companies boxing out local repair shops from working on their vehicles. Not only does Tesla claim that 80% of all repairs can be done without having to go to a service center but they are doubling down and have hired and trained their own technicians within their company that can go and repair their customer’s vehicle right from their driveway! As I mentioned earlier there has been a pivot from having to repair the hardware to focusing in on the software. These vehicles are beginning to have solutions to problems available from “over the air” updates meaning issues can be solved the same way your phone fixes a bug.

This is not an article to tell you that your business is in danger but rather it is to let you know that we are at a turning point in the automotive industry and it is time to prepare your staff and yourself for the new set of problems you will be faced with. Over the next 20 years someone won’t come in complaining their exhaust pipe is making a strange noise or their engines making a pinging sound but rather they will be asking about their battery cells or will need help boosting their transformer converters.The question isn’t about whether cars will need to be repaired anymore, people still are going to find ways to create problems with their car the question is will you be ready to offer them a solution.

Check out the rest of this series to find out how your shop will be affected by this new wave of vehicles.