Auto Service World
News   December 1, 2022   by Adam Malik

Techs and their tools: What happens in an EV world?

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Automotive service and repair technicians have spent tens of thousands — maybe into the hundreds of thousands — of dollars in tools to do their job.

But as electric vehicle sales pick up steam and shops prepare to be ready to service the vehicles, what does that mean for a tech’s toolbox?

It certainly will mean a change, observed Chris Bahlman, product manager at KPIT, an automotive software company.

“We’re bringing technicians into a really different world here,” he said at this year’s Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association’s Technology Conference “We’re bringing them into a clean room, computer science, data-driven type of environment.”

Does that mean forking out even more money for tools? While it’s not set in stone, Bahlman predicted that there would be a cost for tools and equipment for EVs but it may not be as expensive as buying a new wrench.

“In the future, what we see and what we’re working toward is being able to have a technician make a minimal investment upfront in hardware,” he explained, adding that there will be smaller, incremental purchases needed to be made to keep tools up to date. “That’s really the goal.”

Long story short, technicians are going to be working in an environment that is more software-driven, rather than hardware. That means one capital investment (the hardware being the tool) and then updating it with the latest applications.

“We have to make sure that these applications can bring on-the-fly changes and warranty changes in parts, any changes in the operation of the ECUs down into those tools,” Bahlman said. “So we see actually going forward, fewer and fewer hardware tools being needed, but certainly more knowledge in software and how software and various applications work.”

He sees the collision repair sector as the big winner here as they will have much of their burden relieved.

“As more and more of these systems are actually brought on board and if they are unified, the data can be driven and pushed out into the tools in a more unified way then we’re going to be assisting the technician, they make less investment, they should be able to get the vehicle calibrated and put back on the road quicker,” Bahlman said.

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