Automotive repair shops will be able to find regular business with electric vehicles through four main categories: Range maintenance, torque protection, health reports and cooling protection.
These four were highlighted in a recent report put out jointly by the Auto Care Association and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association. The report, Impact of New Technologies in the Automotive Aftermarket, was presented at AAPEX 2021 by authors Akshay Singh, partner with Strategy& and Carlos Thimann, director at the same company.
While noting this was not an exhaustive list, these are four areas where shops can find new service opportunities, Thimann explained.
Carlos Thimann, right, director, and Akshay Singh, partner at Strategy&, at AAPEX 2021 during their presentation “Impact of New Technologies in the Automotive Aftermarket”
A ‘range maintenance’ or ‘range optimization’ service category could start with a diagnosis of wheel alignment, tire wear, cooling system effectiveness, motor alignment, regenerative power and other factors that may affect battery range.
“So how do you make sure that all the other components — not just the battery but everything else related to the vehicle — how can you make sure that you maintain alignment?” Thimann said. “All these other factors that might affect actually the serviceability and the life of the vehicle to improve the range of the batteries.”
Torque protection is an important one because electric drive motors can provide high torque at starting speeds. This may affect the life of half shafts, CV joints, tires and other undercar components. While it can be anticipated that automakers will compensate for the high torque, there have been multiple reports of high tire wear on electric vehicles.
“Even though a lot of this might be engineered into the product, it could be a situation where there might be some impact to the life of half shafts or CV joints,” Thimann said.
Vehicle owners may likely be interested in how they can maximize both vehicle performance and battery longevity. That’s where ‘state of health reports’ can come in handy. These can diagnose the various factors that make up a battery’s state of health and provide comparisons to similar vehicles.
Finally, Thimann highlighted, cooling protection checks are key because an EV’s cooling system protects the high-dollar item under the hood. Take the battery, motors, electronic control modules, and inverters as an example.
There’s also the HVAC system, which is more complicated in an EV. These vehicles use heat pumps to supply both cooling and heating to the cabin interior.
The report noted that fluid connectors, intelligent valves and heat pumps could become new service categories.