AAPEX 2022: EV Batteries, R2R and Facing the Future
Nov. 4, 2022—The final day of AAPEX 2022 may have marked the end of the event for this year, but it didn't mark the end of many important conversations. In fact, the end of AAPEX 2022 may be the beginning for some inspired new journeys.
The future of the aftermarket is a topic that looms over nearly every industry interaction these days. It's a vast subject full of unknowns, which can be understandably intimidating. But with those unknown areas comes untapped opportunity, and that was a big takeaway across AAPEX this year.
There was an educational session on the final day of the show called, "Preparing for Battery Service on Electric Vehicles" that exemplified this notion. It was presented by Keith Hospodarsky, global EV platform senior manager at Midtronics. This presentation served as primer to the topic of EV battery service, and presented starting points for shop owners when considering the following questions:
- What are the service applications?
- What equipment is required?
- What does it take to be service ready?
- When do I need to act?
Hospodarsky leveled with the audience as they listened to his presentation on the AAPEX Stage in the second-story lobby of the Venetian Expo. He said that those in the audience may be wondering why they should pay attention to this kind of vehicle service, and he was prepared to tell them the reason.
"These vehicles are going to be on the road and they're going to need service," Hospodarsky said.
Midtronics is in the vehicle battery game, producing and developing battery management equipment and services for the industry. Midtronics has a vested interest in the EV space, and Hospodarsky noted that Midtronics has taken its sole focus of battery management and applied it to an electrified future.
"The shift is coming, and it's accelerating," Hospodarsky said.
Hospodarsky said that the EV shift over point will really pick up around 2030, and shops are going to start to see more EVs on the road and coming into their service bays. He outlined a general approach that shops should have in regard to EV battery service, which included the following steps: Familiarize yourself with the technology, select a service strategy, look into the service applications, equipment and the training that's needed to be successful.
- They could refuse to conduct these kinds of services, which could lead to turning away customers and losing revenue.
- They could opt to do full battery pack replacements in the vehicles, which requires an investment of time and training. Hospodarsky said this avenue could be a good option for shops seeing a low volume of EV-related repairs.
- They could conduct full service on the batteries, which requires the highest level of equipment and training out of the three options he outlined.
"The time to prepare is now and the transition is coming fast," Hospodarsky said.
Overall, Hospodarsky's presentation acknowledged the newness of some of this battery technology, but even though it is intimidating it is also inevitable. As we look into the near future, EVs will become more commonplace, and so will their repairs.
"One thing to keep in mind is that you're not alone in this journey," Hospodarsky said.
Another element of AAPEX 2022 that had a forward-facing perspective was the topic of Right to Repair, which was given visual representation at Joe's Garage in the Right to Repair Bay.
The display proposed the question, "Why do we need Right to Repair?" According to data from the exhibit, "37% of vehicles in the U.S. have at least one repair affected by limited data access today."
Earlier this week at AAPEX, Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association, announced that the highly anticipated Right to Repair decision has been delayed for the seventh time. Despite this fact, the energy at the Right to Repair Bay wasn't deflated.
The exhibit featured a BMW 740i adorned with bright red asterisk stickers. Each sticker represented 50 diagnostic codes that could be restricted. The exhibit was an open forum for conversation around this topic, relaying relevant information about R2R to attendees interested in learning more.