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What Does a Technician Need to Know When Repairing an Electric Car?

The general opinion towards electric vehicles shows that people are excited – to say the least. When visiting your familiar workshop, why aren’t the technicians and their manager reflecting the same excitement?

The course offerings in the automotive industry is focused on the general technology and safety of electric cars. With this, the local regulations regarding electrical safety requirements are met. The industry’s professionals know that with electrical safety knowledge alone you are not able to repair a single electric vehicle. In addition to the training courses on the dangers of electricity, the technicians and mechanics at the workshops need lots of other training events also.

There’s More to Electric Cars Than Just the High-Voltage Powertrain

High-voltage powertrains are fairly simple. Besides this, the rest of the car is also developing, for example the cooling and heating systems of the cabin, inverter and battery, that utilises the same principles as heat pumps. We can be sure that these systems are not repaired with the same methods you learned on the air conditioning system training years ago.

Since the comparison of differences in engine technology is going away, it brings pressure to developing even better and more selling comfort and driver assist systems. One could playfully say that repairing the suspension does not change and can still be done in minutes, but adjusting the steering angles and calibrating the assisting system might take hours.
These “concrete” features will become selling points and criterias when selecting an electric car, This is already visible in the garages’ work orders and equipment investments.

The Necessity of Repair and Maintenance Instructions

It will be long before there are generalised technical solutions in electric vehicles between different manufacturers. The concern is that there’s an ever-growing demand for technicians/mechanics to need to hold more knowledge when the technical solutions are new. The manufacturers’ bring, enthusiastically, new innovations and equipment to the market that we can’t even imagine yet.

The mechanics have to change their way of thinking and respect the manufacturers’ model specific instructions more and more. Find them and use them. Because of this the technicians will in fact need a lot of support and training in using different manufacturers’ repair and maintenance instructions. It cannot be so that the training starts when the first electric car is on the hoist waiting for the work to be started.

The dealerships, on their part, have experience with their workshop data systems, but surely the attitude towards using the instructions can require some more training.


The Technician’s Central Skills

When working as a technician myself, and later as a trainer, I have for a long time waited for the day when the skills required from a technician are: IT skills, reading comprehension, mathematical inference and perception as well as, in some countries, understanding the professional English language. Only after this does it make a difference what you know about cars, because that’s easier to learn with the previously mentioned skills than the other way around.

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