Featured image: Screenshot from the Gruber Motors video.A recent video from Gruber Motors gives us a glimpse at the future of the automotive repair scene. While many EV homeowners are familiar with how a Tesla service middle (or other vendor repair) works, that’s just one small part of what we’re going to see develop over the next few years.

How Things Went With Hybrids
A yr or so ago, my mother requested me if I was afraid to drive an EV. “The battery must be so expensive!” she mentioned. When I requested her what made her think of this, she told me that someone in the household recently removed an older Toyota Prius. The problem? The car (in working order) was worth about $5,000, and the hybrid battery failed. My relative went to the vendor and got a quote of $3500 (out the door) to exchange the hybrid’s relatively small pack. She traded the car in to the supplier for $500 and purchased something else, and advised my mother later that she’d never buy a hybrid again.

“Did you realize she might have mounted it for $ ?” I requested.

My mom was shocked when I advised her about unbiased Prius mechanics who will come to your house and swap the battery pack for a refurbished one for therefore cheap. They then take your broken Prius pack with them, swap out unhealthy cells, and put that one in someone else’s car. They actually have a yr or two of warranty.

EVs at the moment are starting to follow an identical path. There aren’t that many Teslas which might be out of warranty. The original Roadster and some Model S vehicles are all there are right now. If a more moderen car utterly quits moving, people take it to the service middle and Tesla fixes it up beneath guarantee. If something like a battery pack or drive unit fails, they substitute the entire unit rather than tear it down and repair the failed component(s). Take an out of guarantee Tesla that wants a brand new pack or drive unit, and anticipate to spend tens of thousands getting complete sections of the car changed.

Just just like the hybrids and gasoline automobiles earlier than them, it’s always cheaper to take an out-of-warranty vehicle to an impartial repair store. In the video, Gruber Motors explains the method it has taken a really completely different strategy to repairing EVs than Tesla’s service facilities, and the way its approach might be the future of independent EV repair outlets.

A Very Different Approach
When something goes wrong with a Tesla vehicle, Tesla’s service facilities take a really modular strategy to vehicle repair. If a battery pack has a problem, they substitute the entire pack. If a drive unit breaks, they exchange the whole drive unit.

This is very totally different from the transmission store I frolicked in as somewhat kid. My dad had a reasonably good enterprise rebuilding transmissions, particularly for business purchasers who would rack up over 100,000 miles per year on a vehicle. He’d convey the vehicle in, raise it, drop a transmission, take it completely aside, inspect/replace damaged elements, put in a brand new clutch and different components that tend to wear fast, reassemble it, take a look at it, and have the van or truck back on the road within a few days.

This approach retains prices down. Instead of paying GM huge bucks for a factory-new transmission, they’d pay for labor and solely the parts/fluids that wanted to get replaced. If the commercial outfits had to purchase a brand new transmission every different year for his or her vans and vehicles, they’d have a tough time affording that, but impartial shops deal with individuals and maintain vehicles on the road so much longer.

Gruber Motors is doing the same thing with Teslas. Instead of changing a complete battery pack, the corporate digs into it and figures out exactly what’s wrong. In different videos, he explains that generally it’s only a few bad cells that want changed, and the vehicle comes back to life. It’s additionally clear that many other issues can go incorrect, in order that they have electronics technicians on workers to dig deep and make solely the needed repairs.

Future Repair Shops Will Be Very Different Than The Old Ones
Unlike repairing vehicles within the 1980s, what wants repaired could be very totally different with today’s electric vehicles.

Mechanical problems do happen with EVs, however they’re relatively uncommon as a result of there are so few shifting elements. If one thing goes wrong, it’s more typically going to be an electronic downside. Pete Gruber exhibits how totally different his store is from most small auto repair shops right now. There’s a large space with simply electronics repair and diagnosis happening. In the storage, there aren’t oil stains on the bottom or smells, but there are oscilloscopes, laptops, and a wide range of digital tools that you simply usually wouldn’t see on the local mechanic’s storage.

The abilities needed are also fairly completely different. Auto repair retailers will at all times want people to turn a wrench like they do at present, but impartial EV repair retailers will want individuals with much more talent in electronics. Even Tesla needs individuals with completely different abilities, so it partners with neighborhood schools to coach individuals up in the expertise they should know, even if they aren’t going to be digging deep the way individuals at Gruber Motors do.

So, the impartial shops are going to need folks with even more skills. The individuals who get those abilities shall be very priceless for the following a number of a long time as extra EVs come out of warranty.

Another Model We Might See
I personally don’t think each independent EV repair shop might be doing the specialized things that the people at Gruber Motors are doing. For no less than part of the industry, there might be prone to be extra of a hub-and-spoke topology.

Some native EV shops will do what Gruber is doing, and do all of their deepest repairs in-house, however many won’t have the talent to do all that, particularly if the quantity of business is low. Instead, they’ll most likely do one thing a little extra much like what Tesla’s service centers are doing, but for lots cheaper.

It might make more sense for the individuals with comparatively rare abilities (deep digital repair) to be rebuilding and refurbishing broken issues at a specialised facility. When a small unbiased shop needs to switch a battery pack, they can order in a refurbished replacement for a fraction of what Tesla charges for a brand new pack. On prime of that, they’ll pay a core cost. When they ship within the damaged pack for the facility to refurbish for the subsequent customer, they’ll get the core cost refunded.

At current, that’s how it works for a lot of automotive parts. You should buy a new alternator, or you can order in a refurbished or remanufactured unit for lots cheaper. The similar is true for water pumps, some kinds of batteries, and tons of other automotive parts. The machining and rebuilding that take specialized talent happens in only a handful of places whereas independent shops and DIY mechanics reap the advantages of that skill globally.

The other benefit to that is for the client. When there’s a excessive volume of EV repair enterprise, drivers will respect the flexibility to get their car back inside a day or two as an alternative of waiting on advanced repairs. Their native mechanic puts a refurbished pack in fast, after which sends the busted one for advanced repair for use for another buyer.

Either way, it’s nice to see that effort is going in to verify EVs have a future when they’re greater than 8-10 years old. Keeping EVs on the street is a great way to minimize back their environmental influence even further, and all of us profit from that.

Featured picture: Screenshot from the Gruber Motors video.

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The Auto Repair Shop Of The Future
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