What your body shop needs to know to be ready to repair electric vehicles

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The Automotive Innovation Alliance reported in June that nearly 200,000 electric vehicles were sold in the first quarter of this year — a 4.2% increase from the previous quarter — accounting for 5.9% of overall light vehicle sales. Is your store preparing to fix them?

Repairers, trainers, car manufacturers and others participated in a recent roundtable at Collision Industry Conference (CIC) on what electric vehicles will mean for body shops. Here are some of the highlights of that discussion.

Consider your elevators

“The normal two-post elevator is not going to be the future, in my opinion,” said store owner Virginia. Barry Dorn, whose company is certified to repair a number of automakers’ electric vehicles. His reasoning: stores will need a lift that can be used when the main battery of an electric vehicle needs to be removed.

“When you consider the width of the battery you are going to remove, at least for the Audi brand, the batteries are the size of a queen-size mattress and weigh nearly 2,000 pounds,” said Mark Allen from Audi of America. “So you’re going to need a lift that has at least 67 inches between the posts. Not the arms, the poles. And then a flat floor underneath so you can put a lift table underneath.

Expect to need a power upgrade

In the past, many shops have had to upgrade their building’s electrical service to meet the electrical needs of certain welding equipment. Installing one or more EV charging stations will likely require another upgrade.

“The response they get mostly [when shops inquire about any necessary electrical upgrades] is: You only have…

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