Tuesday, 02 March 2021 09:44

Electric Vehicle Repair: No Room for Error

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...are adjusted to allow for it.


In the U.S., getting a tech to any off-site training is tough and is always an imposition on productivity.


The biggest difference in training/education for technicians working on electric vehicles between the U.S. and Europe is government regulation.


First, there is European regulation ECE R 100. This covers the most basic information concerning electric vehicles, and safety while working on them.


Then, as a second step, every individual country in Europe has its own rules and regulations regarding technician certification for working on electric vehicles. The strongest of these is Germany, with its VDE 1000-10 regulation.


For example, in Germany, to be fully certified to work on electric vehicles could be as much as a 3.5-year process for a technician, including a very specific educational curriculum under the umbrella of an apprenticeship program, culminating in a 12-day high-voltage certification training with end-of-training final exam.


European manufacturers rolling out their training programs under German regulations worldwide will affect collision repair technicians in the U.S.


If you are a shop owner, at this point you are probably saying, “I don’t want to train a guy for two years just to work on electric cars---and I sure don’t need any more government regulation and interference in my business!” Agreed.


The reason all this training and education is mandated by the government is because the government covers medical costs if a technician is hurt on the job.


“When you go to an emergency medical facility in Europe, the first thing they ask is if you are there because of a work-related accident or not," Fuchs explained. "If you are, treatment goes in one direction. If not, treatment takes another direction.”


So, the training/education mandates are at least qualified.


But what about working on electric cars in the U.S.?


“In my new position at I-CAR, our team is working with all car manufacturers to come up with a comprehensive training solution for safely repairing collision-damaged electric cars," Fuchs said. "German carmakers may think U.S. training is way behind Europe, while other manufacturers may consider the U.S. approach adequate.


"At I-CAR, we have one goal: To ensure that every person in the collision repair industry has the information, knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe and quality repairs for the ultimate benefit of the consumer. This includes EVs.


"We need to all get on the same page because with the new high-voltage electric vehicles, there is no room for error.”


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