Are electric cars on your mind? With companies like Tesla in the headlines every other week, they just might be. While they’re far from mainstream, if you’re following car trends, you can see that electric vehicles have the potential to make some waves in the car industry. And if you operate a collision repair shop, you might be wondering how it will affect your line of business specifically. Here’s what the rise of hybrid and all-electric vehicles could mean for your shop.
In order to go farther on each charge, manufacturers are continually working to make electric cars lighter. That means they’re typically moving away from heavier materials like steel and toward lighter metals like aluminum. The increase in aluminum usage on electric cars is part of a larger trend, with this and other exotic metals showing up in more new gas-powered vehicles as well.
This collective shift means you’ll likely see more aluminum repairs, whether you’re working with electric vehicles or not. And as more carmakers are increasing usage across the board, it’s likely you’ll see changes in how it’s used too. With more minds dedicated to thinking about aluminum, you’ll see transformations in where it’s used in vehicles, how it’s joined and more.
Increased Training Needs
So how can you prepare for these changes? The key is to provide your techs with the proper training. Working with the materials on these new cars isn’t necessarily harder, but it is different. Courses like those offered from Chief University can help. Along with understanding how to repair aluminum, education can also help techs develop an understanding of the collision dynamics of these new cars. Different designs mean they’ll react differently in a crash, so techs will need to understand how to properly assess damage.
Along with education opportunities within the repair industry, carmakers are also stepping up and providing training specifically for their vehicles. Some high-end manufacturers even offer certification programs that ensure shops are ready to properly handle repairs on their cars. For example, Tesla-approved repairers must complete a training course and use manufacturer-approved tools and techniques. If there’s a need in the market, your shop could see big benefits from going through the certification process.
Along with training, an increase in electric cars and different materials could mean you need to evaluate your tools, as well. You’ll need things like aluminum-capable welders, dust extractors and fume extractors. You may also require a bench system that can handle these new vehicles.
In the end, whether you see an influx of electric cars in the coming years depends largely on the buying trends in your area. But even if you don’t see a rash of all-electric cars, it’s good to remember that they’re part of a larger trend toward more efficient vehicles. And that’s one trend that will definitely impact how you do business.