We are part of an industry that continues to grow and evolve. Changing the old ways for new and more advanced practices is something that the community is used to and can change quickly. Auto mechanics can sometimes be complex and this is the reason why it takes more than one mechanic to run an auto service and repair shop. And now more than ever, with the arrival of electric and hybrid vehicles.
The increased availability of electric vehicles on the market doesn’t mean that mechanics will be out of a job any time soon but it means that the stereotypical image will change. Modern mechanics are now equipped with computers, a new set of skills and modern equipment. These skills will only progress in the future. Even though many false data were circulating on top website platforms in recent years about the EV and how the electrical revolution will negatively affect the industry, still the reality is different. There is a silver lining here that needs to be praised and embraced by car mechanics.
The impact on the industry is huge as many need to adjust and learn how to operate in the new environment. The electric repairs are nothing new in auto repair. Hybrids are not that much different than petrol cars. The ultimate difference is the electrical components.
Here are the major maintenance of electric car parts and how they work.
The most important part of an electric car is the battery, not the motor, as the battery is equivalent of the regular car’s engine in terms of value and cost. This is the crucial part that will define the residual value of an electric car in the future. The batteries are made up of 7000 lithium-ion cells batteries that store direct current. They are stacked together with a coolant pumped between them to keep the environment cool.
If charged too quickly and too often and it’s often exposed to different temperatures, the battery will eventually suffer. However, fixing a battery problem is quite simple as all of the specs and procedure are listed in the car’s repair manual. The tricky parts, the quick fixes and everything else.
Electric cars use induction motors. It depends on the origin of the car but the motor will be either be powered by permanent magnets or an AC induction type. The first model can be found inside the Tesla Model 3.
In both cases, the magnetic field is produced by an alternating current that causes the motor to turn. The difference between these two is that the permanent motor doesn’t need electricity to get the motor to spin.
The inverter of electric cars is for converting the batteries direct current to alternating current. This part also helps in regenerative braking by transferring energy back to the battery. When a vehicle is decelerating the kinetic energy is converted into electricity through the motor and sent back and stored inside the battery so that it can be used later on.
Brake fluid service
Electric cars use regenerative braking for stopping. Even though the mechanical brakes are not used, the cars still have normal parts such as discs and pads. These are pressed together with the same hydraulic process as you can find in a conventional car. The process uses a hygroscopic fluid that absorbs water from the air and can cause corrosion to the system unless it’s flushed regularly.
As we mentioned before, electric cars have no engine but they do use coolant to keep the big battery cool. The intervals for the coolant flush systems vary widely, from four years to 50,000 miles for a Tesla Model or 150,000 miles for a Chevy Bolt.
Prepare for EVs
You need to prepare your workshop to receive electric vehicles before you start with the repairs. There are a few things you need to purchase to repair electric cars safely.
Voltage lineman gloves – class 0, 1000 volts.
These gloves will help you disable the battery and handling high voltage parts while reducing the risk of being electrocuted. EV batteries deliver high voltage, which can be dangerous and potentially deadly if not handled correctly.
The acid contained in batteries can be harmful to your eyes and body. Always wear eye protection before working on any kind of battery.
For the same reason, you need to make sure you are wearing protective clothing before you work on an EV vehicle. Watch out for leaking batteries and dripping battery fluid.
Poles can help you pull technicians away from the vehicle if they get electrocuted. Better safe than sorry.
1,000 volts Multimeter
This tool will help you check the voltage levels on electric vehicles without risking damaging a normal multimeter
Battery charging equipment
You can buy charging stations from General Motors for only $490. This is the least expensive solution and can be used to charge any vehicle that is made later than in 2010.
Non – metal workbench
It can be extremely dangerous to use anything metal to put high voltage parts on it. Benches made out of wood can work but can become conductors of electricity if the bench has oil on it.
Benches covered with plastic are perfect. If you don’t want to spend extra money on new benches you can use the current ones you have and cover them with rubber.
In the end
Repairing EV is nothing new and it shouldn’t cause concern as long as you have the right information and training. Because technology is changing fast it’s important to stay up to date with the new trends on the market.
It can be dangerous to continue with the same mindset and assume that, just because you have the experience, you can rely on and use the same procedure to all types of EV. The EV market is diverse therefore there should be different procedures and tactics for all different models out there. Learning and improving constantly is what will help you achieve more and stay ahead of the competition in the EV market.