EV Servicing Raises Safety Concerns

There’s a big gap between what service technicians assert they need in terms of safety in servicing electric and hybrid vehicles (EVs) and what original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are doing to meet these needs, according to a recent survey from IDC Manufacturing Insights.

The study, which surveyed more than 2,000 automotive professionals worldwide was conducted in collaboration with the Society of Automotive Engineers and found that while service technicians are concerned about the potential impact electric and hybrid electric vehicles might have on their safety, OEMs do not have as high concerns as technicians. The service technicians surveyed cited concerns over the lack of training, safety instructions and service manuals available for EVs.

toyota

image via Toyota

While some OEMs are undertaking efforts to confront these problems, the survey found others who, shockingly, are not. The report claims that the industry as a whole needs to focus activities to provide technicians with better information and tools to improve service performance and safety while there are still relatively small number of HEVs and EVs on the road. But as EV technology proliferates and complexity advances, the report states, “the importance of accurate and up-to-date service information and continual safety of service technicians will increase.” In fact, according to the new report, compared to those at dealerships, technicians at independent repair facilities are appreciably less prepared to handle the safety challenges stemming from new vehicle technologies.

“Electric and hybrid vehicles employ high voltage drivetrain batteries and the required charging systems will potentially have a profound impact on the safety of service technicians in the field,” Sheila Brennan, program manager, aftermarket anddervice strategies at IDC Manufacturing Insights, said in a statement. “Our study found that the service information provided by OEMs does not optimally meet the needs of service technicians. And while many OEMs are working to improve service and safety information, some of these initiatives may be misaligned with how the technicians themselves perceive their needs.”

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Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.