Sealey discusses how the aftermarket must stay in touch with the automotive industry’s evolving technology in order to develop, and secure its future in servicing and repairing electric and hybrid vehicles.
Whatever one’s view is on the upsurge of electric and hybrid vehicles, it is certain that the movement towards this type of transport is rapidly increasing. Many cities in the UK are looking at introducing low emission zones, whilst some are even considering an outright ban on any vehicle that is not zero emissions. Whether we like it or not as an industry, legislation aimed at increasing air quality and gaining easier access to alternately-fuelled vehicles means garages will see an ever-increasing amount of these vehicles being presented for repair or service work. Every major vehicle manufacturer now either makes or has plans to make an electric vehicle. Hybrid technology has been around for a long time; the technology we see around us and think of as modern is now well over 20 years old.
There is a common misconception in the industry that vehicles fitted with a high voltage battery have to remain with a main dealer for any type of service or repair work. Independent garages can work on these vehicles safely, and moreover, motor factors can supply the tools and equipment that are required. For technicians that want to work on these types of vehicles, it is important that they attend the appropriate training courses, which can be arranged via establishments such as the IMI or Pro-Moto. The waiting times to attend these courses serve as proof of the demand placed on garages that want to work on hybrid and electric vehicles, so it really is a case for all of us to either embrace it or get left behind. Safety is paramount when dealing with high voltage, and isolating this voltage can be a straightforward process to follow. All vehicle manufacturers will be able to supply the relevant information to isolate the high voltage battery for the vehicle in question.
Once the technicians have been on the training courses, they will have to invest in certain tools and equipment. Sealey’s staff have been trained to work on hybrid and electric vehicles, and they are able to offer various packages of equipment as well as individual items, meaning that they can meet the needs of individual garages and technicians. The company provides a complete starter pack (HP55KITCOMBO), which includes all of the necessary tools and equipment that a technician will require to carry out service and repair work. Sealey’s latest Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Service promotion has plenty of special offers, hints and tips for vehicle technicians; there is even a photograph which shows the inner working of a high voltage battery pack. The company also provides videos on hybrid vehicles on its YouTube channel.
Armed with trained technicians and a modest outlay in equipment, servicing and repairing hybrid and electric vehicles will bring great rewards to garages and the motor factors that supply them. One thing we can be certain of is that this area of business will only grow.