The Industry’s EV Obstacles
Feb. 16, 2021—General Motors and Ford have both recently announced investments of over $25 billion into the development of electric vehicles, proving EVs are not the latest fad, but the industry’s new frontier. It won’t be long before they become regular visitors to shops.
The Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association hosted a webinar called “Preparing for the EV Revolution” on Jan. 26, detailing the various ways in which the automotive industry will shift, and even the ways it may struggle with the rise of electric and autonomous vehicles.
John Eck, manager of General Motors’ wholesale dealer channel, said the industry should expect changes across vehicle type, vehicle design, and even vehicle capabilities as more electric vehicles are produced.
Founder and owner of NuGen IT, Pete Tagliapietra, said “Now is the time for [stakeholders] to get along and work together on how to repair these vehicles correctly.”
Shop owners, take notes, here’s what you can expect.
As electric vehicles become more sophisticated, Eck said we can expect a wide range of vehicle types. From personal mobility vehicles to electric fleets, he said there will be diversification across the industry.
The rise of electric vehicles also presents an opportunity to attract a new type of technician, Eck said. Electric vehicles contain high-voltage parts that a traditional body technician may not be aware of, creating the need for an electric vehicle technician.
Evolving alongside EVs are advanced driver assistance systems which require precise calibration and extensive software knowledge. Eck said these technician roles could be of higher interest to the younger generation, and as a result, could help to bridge the technician shortage.
The way the industry is shifting, Eck said it will be to shop owners’ benefit to foster positive, healthy relationships with their insurers. Eck said insurers and collision repair shops have to work together on their common goals: high customer service index and low cycle times.
“We, as an industry, struggle to bring technicians the most up-to-date information while they’re repairing the car,” said Tagliapietra.
It’s problem that he fears will only be exacerbated with the phasing out of internal combustion vehicles.
“Training is a huge issue,” he said, referring to the amount of information today’s technicians need to have at the ready. That’s why technicians need to be following the original equipment manufacturer’s repair procedures exactly as they’re written, he said.
“I cannot imagine how a shop would not want to look up the OEM procedures on every repair,” Tagliapietra said. “It’s critical.”
Aside from the hands-on aspect of collision repair, Tagliapietra said there needs to be more collaboration between stakeholders across the industry.
“Insurance companies need to know OEM repair procedures to know what to expect the shop to ask for,” he said.