Flick on the television today and you get cars coming up in two different scenarios. The first is with commercials, telling you all about the new features on models coming out of the Big Three or one of the other mass-market carmakers. The second category are cars and carmakers that dominate the news, and that happens to be Tesla, Rivian, Fisker, and other EV brands.
The reason mass-market brands are advertising is that there’s serious competition, and these models are in demand. But EVs are in the news because they’re up-and-comers, poised to be disrupters in a very traditional industry.
With Volkswagen committing to 1.5 million EVs by 2025, Tesla becoming the most valuable carmaker despite a very limited stable, and everyone else talking about the importance of electrification, there’s no question: it’s happening. But is your service department ready for it?
I won’t wax poetic and about electric taking over. That’s decades away. But by 2025, there may be as many as 10 percent of the vehicle fleet in America that’s hybridized or fully electric. I’d suggest it’s a good idea to be on pace to equip your shop to handle EVs with that level of adoption.
EVs have high-voltage systems that won’t just hurt someone if a mistake is made – they’ll kill. Shops should have the safety equipment nearby every stall so techs won’t wander around looking for it before skipping it and getting into dangerous territory. That includes high-quality lineman’s gloves, protective suits, grounding equipment, insulated hand tools, and more.
No matter what anyone else says, the most important safety equipment is knowledge. Technicians should be trained on general EV and hybrid safety for OSHA purposes. That goes hand in hand with the direct training they need for any EV models your brand currently has and will have soon.
Ideally, all qualified techs should be trained on EV servicing with a minimum of half. EV customers are discerning and should not have to wait longer than any other car owner to have their vehicle maintained or fixed.
If your service department is one that has prepared for electrification more than the average shop, make your customers and neighborhood aware. Wear it like a badge of honor. Become the recognized EV service facility in your area – not just for your own brand, but for any EV on the market.
It might only be 10 percent of the cars five years from now that are electrified, but that’s a stepping-stone to 20 percent, then 50 percent, and then higher. Stay ahead of the curve to be the dealer everyone chooses for EV servicing, and you’ll be the one they look to for their EV purchases as well.