We’ve talked before about some of the challenges of getting the consumer base to switch over to electric vehicles, prices of the cars, charging stations, and range, but here’s one that’s not very frequently talked about… What about repairs? Car dealerships are now selling more electric vehicles and the interest in EVs is on the rise, but what about service?
Granted, fully electric vehicles or pure plug-ins don’t have as much in terms of repair necessities, there are not as many moving parts. There are no internally lubricated parts like for an internal combustion engine but they do need repairs and service. Traditional dealerships are sounding an alarm over the ability to service these vehicles. Why is that? Why can’t they just bring it in and fix it? Well, here’s why.
First, mechanics that work in these shops have been trained for 10, 20, and 30+ years on how to fix gasoline piston engine vehicles. They don’t have that long of experience fixing EVs. It’s a whole different process that needs specific training and those training programs can take weeks or months for a technician to go through. That means they have to be off the shop floor fixing cars and in training which costs the dealership money. The other thing is the equipment and tools to fix these cars. The transition can cause big bucks for repair shops, for example, General Motors has required dealers to invest $200,000 in service equipment testing diagnostic special tools. Some dealerships are just choosing to take a buyout because they don’t want to spend that much money to upgrade their shop.
Occasional maintenance is still necessary. Finding somebody to work on a vehicle could be a challenge. According to the research that was done, General Motors requires every dealership that sells EVs to have a minimum of two technicians that have fully completed an EV training path. This requires 60 courses that you have to take to become a certified EV technician. Ford dealers are required to have in place all the tools and equipment needed to service the vehicles and only 4,000 out of 40,000 ford technicians have completed the transition. That means 10% have and 90% have not.
So what are your thoughts? Do you have an electric vehicle? Have you had to do any service on it? It still needs tires, it still needs brakes, and there are still moving parts on it. The battery sometimes needs maintenance, it’s more electronic technical maintenance than mechanical maintenance, but have you had to have your vehicle serviced? Did you do any work on it? How did that go with the dealership? Did they have the parts? Did they have the staff?
Tell us what you think and if you think this is going to be an easy transition for new car dealers.