Auto Service World
News   April 7, 2022   by Allan Haberman

Are you ready to service electric vehicles?

The advantages of getting ahead of the curve

Electric vehicles aren’t going away. In fact, they’re gaining in popularity as conventional vehicle manufacturers start to offer electric versions of traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

These familiar-looking vehicles help to make the transition from ICE to electric easier for consumers. People generally don’t like change. Something that looks familiar with new technology helps to smooth the transition.

Everyone recognizes a Tesla as an electric car — but not an F-150 or a Hummer. These and others are familiar and will be available as battery electric vehicles (BEV). They will be more accepted because of their familiar names and styles.

This can only help to speed the acceptance of electric vehicles. And as more people purchase these BEVs, there will also be more customers looking for a shop to service them.

Will your shop be ready when customers ask if you service EVs?

There is a way to get ahead of the curve: Start servicing hybrid vehicles now. Much of the technology used on BEVs is the same as is used on hybrids. Being familiar with the safety requirements of hybrid service will help make the transition to fully electric vehicles easier. Plus, you will already have some of the equipment necessary to service EVs when the time comes.

Not all service requirements on hybrids or EVs are related to high voltage (HV) components. These high-tech vehicles still have suspension and brake components just like conventional ICE vehicles. One aftermarket supplier recently announced it has expanded its coverage of steering and suspension components for these vehicles. Plus, conventional low-voltage components like lighting, comfort and infotainment equipment will need to be serviced just like on conventional vehicles.

Will your shop be ready when customers ask if you service EVs?

Hybrids still have an ICE that needs all the same servicing a conventional vehicle does. By adding hybrid vehicle service to your shop’s capabilities, you are preparing for future needs as well as expanding your current customer base.

Then there is also the option of spinning off a portion of your shop as a hybrid electric vehicle specialist. Being a specialist opens the door to full EV services in the future. Even if you don’t specialize in hybrids, having signage that says you service them gets the message out there. Hybrids have been around for over 20 years. There are plenty of them out there. Why not tap into that potential?

When hybrids were first introduced, a lot of people said they’re a fad and won’t last. Well, they’re not only still around but gaining popularity. More manufacturers are offering hybrid versions of their popular models.

Even as EVs gain market share, there will still be hybrids on the roads that need to be serviced. Just as the ICE will be around for many years to come, so too will hybrids.

Take refrigerant as an example: R12 was banned 25 years ago and we still see the occasional vehicle that’s still charged with R12 and working. So it’s not unreasonable we will see ICE-powered vehicles for years after manufacturers stop producing them.

The numbers will turn. At some point, we will have more EVs on the road than ICE vehicles. Whether that means hybrids or BEVs, we will be servicing more vehicles with an electric component.

Get ahead of the curve now and be ready when that time comes. It is always better to be proactive than reactive.

Allan Haberman is a technical trainer and owner of ACA Training Systems in Winnipeg, MB.

This story originally appeared in the February issue of CARS magazine


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