EV Plug in Image

Working on electric vehicles in garages

The electric vehicle (EV) market is growing quickly. There were over 420,000 pure-electric cars on UK roads at the end of February 2022. And EV sales have risen by 66% since 2019.

We have already looked at EV vehicle recovery and installing charging points. But what about repair and maintenance? Are garages ready to take on all the electric vehicles being sold?

What are the safety hazards for garages?

Due to the battery voltage in electric vehicles, there is an inherent risk of electrocution or static electricity causing a spark. There is also the possibility of the car turning on accidentally while work is being performed. These serious risks make safety training a priority.

Some electric vehicles and hybrids are easily recognisable. But others are not so easily distinguishable from their fuel-only counterparts. This makes training and knowledge even more important, as a mix-up could create serious problems and result in life threatening hazards.

EV Mechanic under a car

What safety precautions are used by garages?

Those that work on electric vehicles should avoid contact with high-voltage cables. The only time when this is safe is when the high-voltage battery has been completely disconnected. They should also ensure that the right PPE is worn when working on EV vehicles.

Other precautions include turning the ignition off and making sure that the key or key fob is away from the vehicle, ensuring the ‘ready’ light is not on, and waiting 15 minutes before working on the vehicle after disconnecting the battery.

EV Garage Mechanic

Is a lack of training a sleeping giant?

There is a substantial skills gap in the UK, and it is likely the rate of training will need to double to meet the continued increase in demand. This will put immense pressure on the industry to have technicians and experts appropriately trained and ready to help customers whilst also staying safe.

Right now, most EVs will be taken to their dealership for repair. Independent garages typically see cars coming in that are around five to ten years old. As more electric vehicles pass beyond their warranty, independent garages will need to have technicians ready and trained.

EV Under the bonnet

What PPE is needed for working on EV?

As a supplier of best-in-class PPE and safety equipment, it’s our role to make sure you have the most suitable products to keep you safe. But as there is currently no clear consensus on standards for working on EV, many garages won’t know what to wear and use.

We make sure to keep up to speed with the industry, and as well as advise on products and safety, we can also share best practices from our experience with other clients around the UK. As more garages transition their practices and services to electric vehicles, now is the time to seek advice.

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