In life, you’ll be able to select to be an early adopter, go together with the group or get dragged kicking and screaming in opposition to change.
That’s how I take a look at repairing electrical automobiles (EVs) and hybrid electrical automobiles (HEVs). We’re all going to need to restore them ultimately, so it’s higher to get ready now and be prepared for the wave.
A Manner of Life
Because the proprietor of two CARSTAR areas within the San Francisco space, EVs are a lifestyle. The Bay Space leads California with essentially the most EVs and, with Governor Newsom’s push for 100% EV gross sales in 2035, the EV market is dynamic right here.
I made the choice a number of years in the past to embrace EV repairs. First, I purchased a Tesla so I may change into aware of the automobiles we had been going to be repairing. I learn the whole lot I may concerning the car, the way it was manufactured and the way it operated. I additionally studied the accessible supplies on what it might take to restore them, together with the completely different approaches, instruments and facility necessities.
Taking the Plunge
Then, I took the plunge. First, my crew and I wanted to get our technicians to “purchase in” to the EV expertise and never be delay by it. I-CAR’s EV programs have been an incredible useful resource for our technicians and estimators. We additionally labored carefully with CARSTAR, who supplied steering and sources to assist us stand up to hurry. We participated within the OEM coaching supplied by Tesla and earned our certification as a Tesla-approved restore facility. As well as, I used my very own private Tesla to display the variations between EVs and gas-powered automobiles.
We transformed an area with curtained-off areas devoted to repairing EVs and aluminum automobiles, as most EVs make the most of this light-weight metallic. We additionally transitioned to the 3M Whole Automotive Sanding System to reduce mud particles within the store. This not solely lowered our airborne particles and cleanup time, however it additionally boosted our technicians’ morale as a result of they didn’t finish the day lined in mud. There have been different instruments and gear required by Tesla that we would have liked to amass to work on EVs, corresponding to a Professional Spot PR-5 riveter, Millermatic 350P MIG/pulse welder and a Automobile-O-Liner bench with EVO1, 2, 3 and Imaginative and prescient 2 measuring system and the Tesla-specific MS and MX base fixtures.
Our technicians have welcomed EVs with open arms, as there aren’t any conventional engine elements to take care of like with inside combustion engines. Repairing metal or aluminum elements is rather like some other inside combustion car in accordance with OEM restore procedures. There’s additionally the cool issue of having the ability to work on the newest car expertise.
Some persons are involved about engaged on EVs and storing them of their amenities, however we haven’t had any incidents. Engaged on high-voltage automobiles isn’t as scary because it sounds; with the correct coaching on dealing with the EV high-voltage system, it’s fully protected.
We’ve been engaged on Teslas for a yr now, and for 2022, we noticed a forty five% improve in new EV repairs in comparison with 2021. In the present day, 30% of our repairable automobiles are EVs. That may be a very strong return on our funding!
In the event you’re going to make the transfer to repairing EVs, it’s important to plan your funding first, then map out your schedule to change into able to restore. Listed below are a couple of ideas:
- Know what kinds of EVs are in your market and what the tendencies are. Work along with your paint firm, which regularly has nice knowledge. Take a look at what dealerships — Tesla, Rivian and Lucid — are opening and what present dealerships are providing in EVs. It is a good indicator of what you’ll be repairing within the subsequent yr.
- Overview your facility and the wanted upgrades. Do you will have room to dedicate an space to EV restore? Are you able to create a “clear” facility?
- Decide the instruments and gear you’ll want. Every OEM has particular restore necessities to information you, and I-CAR may be very useful too.
- Interact your technicians. Their buy-in is important. Reinforce the way you’re investing of their careers and serving to them attain cutting-edge expertise.
- Educate your clients. In the event you’ve repaired their automobiles up to now, they in all probability have an EV of their driveway now that may want repairs sooner or later. Ensure you’re informing your clients about your new EV-certified restore companies. And work along with your native dealerships to make sure they’re referring their EV repairs to your facility.