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Electric Vehicle Repair: Everything you need to know

November 9, 2023

Experts predict that the number of EVs and hybrid vehicles on UK roads will rise to over 11 million by 2030*. This shift is bound to bring enormous changes for everyone involved in the automotive industry – from drivers and insurers right through to repairers.

Here we answer some common questions surrounding electric vehicle repair, including the challenges faced by repairers, and how these can be mitigated.

Are Electric Vehicles (EVs) harder to repair?

On the face of it, EVs should be no harder to repair than petrol/diesel vehicles. However, many of their parts and components, not to mention the battery, are drastically different from those found on petrol/diesel vehicles. EV repair therefore requires specialist training, access to the right parts, and often more advanced repair technology.

Repairing an Electric Vehicle after an accident…

If an electric vehicle is involved in an accident, it will need to be recovered, transported, and repaired by an EV specialist – due to the safety concerns regarding the high-voltage circuitry.

Your insurer will need to consider the additional factors which affect EVs – like potential battery damage, and the presence of onboard technologies or automations.

This means every step of the accident management process must be tailored to EVs – including the questions you’re asked at FNOL stage, the way damage is assessed, and the repair methods utilised.

Watch: How Activate Accident Repair Caters for Electric Vehicles

All of our Activate Accident Repair centres have industry-standard EV repair bays. Here’s a short video discussing how they work, and their importance for repairer safety…

Can EVs/hybrids be repaired by a regular mechanic?

EVs can only be repaired by mechanics and technicians with specialist training and equipment, including high-voltage safety apparatus. This means that many local repair centres may struggle to cater for EV or hybrids, requiring them to be taken to a specialist when repairs are required.

Are Electric Vehicles more expensive to maintain?

Everyday maintenance of electric vehicles can actually be cheaper than petrol/diesel cars.

EVs have fewer moving parts, meaning service intervals can be spaced further apart than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles – which need more regular, comprehensive servicing of their mechanical components.

In fact, Renault recommends a service interval of 18,000 miles on its all-electric Zoe model, compared to just 9,000 on its petrol and diesel vehicles. This means drivers won’t need to pay for maintenance as regularly – bringing down the long-term cost of ownership to some extent when compared with ICE vehicles.

Here are 4 things mechanics will need in order to repair electric vehicles…

EV Repair Bay - Activate Accident Repair. Hybrid vehicle being repaired by electric vehicle specialists.

EV repair has a number of different requirements when compared with fossil-fuelled vehicles. These include:

1 – Specialist EV repair training

The different parts, components, and technologies fitted to EVs require specialist training to understand and repair safely.

This mans repairers will need to invest in employee training/accreditations to get mechanics up to speed with the requirements and complexities of electric vehicles.

If an EV’s battery needs repairing, it will usually have to be taken to the vehicle’s manufacturer. The powerful batteries used by EVs are complex and expensive, and thus require specialist parts, expertise, and equipment for their repair.

2 – Access To Replacement Parts

Electric vehicles are still relatively new to our roads. This means that replacement parts can often be difficult to get hold of – especially aftermarket or second-hand.

To mitigate these challenges, repairers need access to a more diverse network of suppliers, who can deliver on the increased demand for EV & hybrid parts. Without these supply chain partnerships, repairers will quickly see delays in vehicle turnaround, impacting all parties involved in the process.

Our repair network is supported by our own Activate Parts supply chain, which partners with a range of suppliers and manufacturers to secure access to parts for all vehicle types, including EV and hybrid.

3 – EV Repair Technology & Safety Equipment

EVs often require more advanced repair technology, and specialist safety equipment. This includes equipment for reprogramming onboard software, safety apparatus & PPE, and EV-compatible diagnostic equipment.

For repairers, this often means making significant investment in new tools and safety equipment, as well as training technicians to use them safely. While this is a big commitment for many bodyshops, it’s a necessary part of adapting to the increased prevalence of electric/hybrid vehicles.

4 – Facilities For ADAS Recalibration

All new vehicles, including EVs, have ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) fitted as standard.

This software uses a combination of cameras and onboard sensors to monitor the area around the vehicle, and prevent accidents by correcting driving errors. It’s what powers features like lane correction, emergency braking, and parking assistance.

ADAS needs recalibrating regularly – such as after an accident, or even following everyday repairs like a tyre change or brake pad replacement. If this isn’t carried out, the safety features will fail to work properly, increasing the risk of an accident.

Electric Vehicle Repair: In Summary

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. Experts predict that there will be over 11 million electric/hybrid vehicles on our roads by 2030.

This change brings a number of challenges for repairers, due to the key different parts and technologies fitted to EVs, and the enhanced safety considerations for their repair.

In order to cater for EVs, repairers will need to consider a number of their unique requirements, including:

  • Specialist EV training for repair technicians
  • Access to the right parts through their supply chains
  • Investment in in-house EV repair equipment
  • Facilities for ADAS recalibration

Through our hybrid repair network, our customers have access to UK-wide EV-specialist repair centres throughout the UK. Their repair requirements are assessed at triage level, allowing us to allocate their vehicle to the most appropriate repairer.

* Local Gov UK EV Report

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