Jun 8, 2023

Future-Proof Your Garage: Why Adapting to Electric Vehicles is No Longer Optional

Adapting to the electric vehicle revolution is crucial for independent garages. Discover how to evolve and thrive in this transformative market.

Future-Proof Your Garage: Why Adapting to Electric Vehicles is No Longer Optional
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As the electric vehicle (EV) era dawns with increasing momentum, it's evident that the traditional transportation paradigm is undergoing a seismic shift. The demand for electric vehicles, particularly Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV), is surging, as shown by the most recent data. The rise in consumer preference for electric vehicles signals a transformative movement in the automotive industry, emphasizing the necessity for garages to evolve and keep pace.

It's noteworthy that the national growth of battery electric vehicles (BEV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) is 6% and 4%, respectively, reflecting a pronounced shift in consumer behaviour. This growth underscores the pressing need for independent garages to upgrade their service capabilities to cater to the burgeoning EV market. (Source: SpGlobal)

British Columbia leads the charge in the electric vehicle revolution, with a remarkable 13.4% of all new light vehicles registered as Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) last quarter. With the national share of ZEVs standing at an impressive 5.0%, the electric revolution is well underway. (Source: SpGlobal)

As consumer preferences continue to shift from traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles towards electric vehicles, it is clear that the business models of garages must pivot to accommodate this rapidly expanding market.

Intriguingly, the upkeep and repair expenses associated with electric vehicles (EVs) are typically lower than those of their internal combustion engine (ICE) counterparts. This point is emphasized by Mark Jowsey of Kee Resources, a firm that provides vehicle maintenance data to fleet managers, who states that the costs of servicing and maintaining electric cars are around 30% less than for petrol and diesel variants. (Source: BuyACar)

The explanation for this cost difference lies in the design of EVs, which have significantly fewer moving parts compared to ICE vehicles. Experts found the powertrain in the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt has 80% fewer moving parts than a comparable car with a gasoline engine. Tesla Inc. has said its drivetrain has fewer than 20 moving parts (Source: DetroitNews). Consequently, the servicing costs for electric vehicles are lower when compared to ICE vehicles. Nonetheless, EVs do require routine maintenance, which comes at a cost, including servicing items like tyres and brakes, windscreens, wiper blades and washer fluid, and not forgetting battery repair or replacement, as well as addressing general wear and tear.

However, when it comes to battery failures, the repairs can be complex and challenging. This is due to the high voltages involved, which require mechanics to have specialized training to handle them safely. Presently, only a limited number of garages possess the necessary know-how to work on electric vehicles. This limitation often restricts customers to main dealerships, which typically levy higher charges than independent garages. Therefore, there's a growing need for independent mechanics to acquire the necessary skills to service this new breed of vehicles.

The German-born automotive expert Klaus Uebelacker, residing in Maple Ridge, B.C., advocates the urgent need for skilled professionals in the industry who can confidently service an electric vehicle. He worked as a Mercedes-Benz mechanic for more than 20 years before moving to his current line of work, training roadside assistance providers at BCAA while also teaching in Kwantlen Polytechnic University's automotive program. (Source: NationalObserver)

The question for independent garages is no longer "if" they should adapt to this transformation, but "how" and "when. In a future blog post, we'll delve into the detailed mechanics of 'how' to transform your garage for the electric era. For now, let's pivot our attention towards addressing the crucial question of 'when' to make this significant shift.

Adapting a garage to cater to electric vehicles will depend on the garage's specializations and geographical location. Nonetheless, the growing trend of EV adoption throughout Canada sends a clear signal for garages to initiate their adaptation process promptly.

Garage owners can strategically plan this transition by monitoring local sales trends and their day-to-day observations. Increased sightings of electric models like Nissan Leafs or Chevrolet Bolts, the establishment of new EV charging stations, or news about local businesses transitioning their fleet to electric can provide valuable insights.

Being proactive and upgrading skills in EV and hybrid servicing can help garage owners stay ahead in this rapidly evolving industry. By making strategic investments now, they can capture a larger market share before the competition intensifies, paving the way for sustainable business growth in the future.

Observing competitors successfully marketing EV services should prompt quick action to stay competitive. If EV adoption in your area is slower, a phased approach to transition can be considered. Getting acquainted with EV and hybrid technologies, registering for webinars on EV systems, and attending local workshops on the subject can equip your garage for the future, aligning with the pace of EV adoption in your area.

In conclusion, the rapid surge in electric vehicle adoption has created a significant demand for independent garages to upskill EVs. By evolving their business models and services to cater to this growing market, garages can stay ahead of the curve, capture larger market shares, and ensure sustainable growth. The time to adapt and embrace the electric revolution is now.