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Introducing the Mach-E

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Ahead of the 2019 LA Auto Show, Ford unveiled its all electric Mustang—the Mach-E. Adding to the pomp and circumstance of the event, actor Idris Elba (Luther, The Avengers) hosted the unveiling with Bill Ford. 

“Route 66 is getting an upgrade,” the actor said of the new all-electric SUV. 

Elba wasn’t just chosen for his celebrity appeal. He actually has ties to Ford. The actor worked on the Ford assembly line in London, following in the footsteps of his father who worked there for 25 years. The unveiling event got attendees psyched for the vehicle, which goes from 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds, has a single charge range of roughly 300 miles and costs $44,000-$60,000 according to a report by USA TODAY

The Mach-E is an example of yet another OEM’s shift toward electric vehicles. Principal automotive analyst with IHS Markit, Stephanie Brinley, got a look at the Mach-E at the auto show. Brinley shares her thoughts on the EV, as well as what independent automotive repair shop owners should be doing to prepare for the shift now.  

What’s the significance of the Mach-E and how will it impact the industry as a whole? 

I’m not sure that it’s bigger news than other EVs, it’s just the one that we’re talking about right now. EVs are coming, the market is developing slower due to customer demand. Last year, EVs were 1.2 percent of the market and by 2026, we forecast it being just under 9 percent. That’s a pretty big jump—from 1 percent to 9 percent. 

Are shops that don’t specialize in EVs in trouble? 

There’s still a lot of vehicles that don’t run on batteries. To prepare for EVs, keep up that expertise. Keep up on developments on new internal combustion engines. It’s not a matter of shifting from one to the other, but there will be changes and you need to know how to service an EV battery.  There are elements of servicing an EV—even if you’re not touching then engine—that you’ll need to know. You’ll need to get up to speed to fix those vehicles.

What about the Mach-E, specifically? 

I believe Ford said that 90 percent of the repairs of the Mach-E can still be done with traditional tools. So, Ford dealerships are in a good space for the Mach-E. Independent shops that are well-versed in Ford are in a good space.

Ford, compared with an automaker like Tesla, has a stronger repair network. When they made the Mach-E, trying to ensure that it was serviceable was a key part. 

The EV market is growing, so it’s technology you need to learn about. Whether you service Ford, Audi, GM, Honda or Toyota—it’s coming.  

What are the indications that there is going to be a major increase in the amount of EVs?  

There’s increased development in the infrastructure. There are more charging stations. Automakers are working with various electronic partners to make sure it’s easy to have a home charging network. They’re making it easier to charge, which will alleviate issues that people have with owning EVs. However, it’s still relatively slow, we don’t have enough charging stations yet. Consumers that switch to EVs have to think and plan life a little differently, which impacts how many there are on the road. 

Do you think there will come a time when EVs take over as the majority? If so, when?  

We don’t have a year predicted for that. For some automakers, that’s the end game, but it could take a few decades. I think it will be a few decades before we really see a shift toward the majority being EVs. 

What should independent repair shop owners be doing right now to prepare and decide whether or not they should be investing more heavily in EVs? 

I think research is the thing right now. Look at your area. Find out how many EVs are in your area. EV acceptance various based on region. California has the most, for example, and the middle of Nebraska will have fewer. Look at where you’re at, look at the brands you service and find out how aggressive they’re being with EVs. If you’re servicing Porsche and Audi, for example, you’re already late to the game. 

These EV vehicles are just coming out and will likely go to the dealership while under warranty, but in a few years, they’ll be at your shop. You need to get ready. Do research to find out how to deal with them and make sure you have the tools and certifications.

 

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