With regular news of eco friendly choices of products for our homes like solar panels, tesla wall, and house lighting. The electric or Hybrid car has not been one of those products Australians have chosen to switch in droves just yet. But with autonomous vehicle technology rapidly growing and Australian government making the road easier for these companies, a combination of these 3 automotive technologies may result in a wave that can catch the industry off-guard. What are the challenges you should be preparing for?
What do you need to be considering now to prepare for the changes coming?
Manufacturers continuously work to make their electronic vehicles lighter. That means that they are moving away from heavier materials like steel and towards lighter materials like aluminium, magnesium, and other composite alternatives.
The increase in aluminium is a typical example and more and more aluminium repairs are made daily whether the work is on aluminium can or not. You will likely see more variations in existing gen 3 alloys like
- Ultra low carbon (ULC)
- Dual Phase steel (DP)
- Transformation induced plasticity steel (TRIP)
- Complex Phase Steel (CP)
- Martensitic Steel (MS)
As well as joining technologies in welding, self-piercing rivets, clinching and high speed joining.
An increase in lightweight electric cars and different materials could mean you need to evaluate your tools, as well. You’ll need things like aluminium-capable welders, dust extractors and fume extractors, High voltage PPE. You may also require a bench system that can handle these new vehicles.
To get an idea of what’s to come, check out Teslas body shop standards.
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. Industry standards refresher courses along with understanding how to repair aluminium, 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, one example of this in Australia is Tesla. 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.
Partnerships with Auto Electricians
Specialist training and certification is needed to not only repair electronic or hybrid vehicles but also to disarm them. Having a full-time auto electrician and the equipment is not viable until you have the regular work on hand.
Close partnerships with Auto electricians does which extend to more than just the traditional referral or add-on service, but by exploring and merging workshop repair process’s, efficiencies in operation such as reduced cost in time and materials will reduce operations cost to keep your quotes competitive.
Partnerships can grow to become mutually beneficial and in the long-term lead to successful mergers which will keep your joint business competitive with the big guys in a rapidly changing market.
In the end, whether you see an influx of electric cars in the coming years depends largely on the buying trends in Australia. But even if you don’t see a rash of all-electric or hybrid autonomous 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 impact how you do business.
Source: Global Automotive lightweight materials summit, Automotive Composites Conference, Canstar