When you join the legion of drivers swapping all-gasoline vehicles for battery power, understand that EV collision repair comes with special challenges. Electric vehicles (EV) and hybrid cars, trucks and SUVs are more and more common in Madison WI. And, inevitably, they show up in an auto body shop with a variety of scrapes, scratches, dings and dents.
Battery-powered vehicles offer a variety of benefits but come with their own repair demands. Especially when it comes to collision repairs.
The No. 1 problem for repair technicians is the battery pack. Batteries damaged in a collision are expensive to replace and represent a long list of potential risks. In addition, even if batteries remain undamaged but structures around them are, they have to be removed before work can be done.
Auto body shop technicians go through specialized training to deal with electric vehicles. There’s a lot of additional technology to understand – including the risk of electrocution from the high voltage in hybrids.
While most repairs to body-related damage uses the same tools and techniques it’s the final stage of body work that gets the most attention. The painting and paint-curing process for electric-powered vehicles is not the same as for traditional cars, trucks and SUVs.
Removing or disconnecting the high-voltage battery system also disconnects its cooling system. To avoid serious damage to the vehicle and threats to technicians electric vehicles that require new paint cannot have the new finish “baked” in conventional drying ovens. Paint booth temperatures cannot rise above 120°F. Overheating not only represents potential battery damage, it shortens the life of the battery.
Many automakers, including Audi, Lexus, Tesla, Toyota and Volvo, have issued guidelines for painting their electric and hybrid vehicles.
More Vehicles On The Road = More EV Collision Repair
Transportation experts expect more than 125 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030. That’s up from about 3 million just a couple years ago. Every automaker either has or will have an all-electric of hybrid model to choose from. This increased popularity dramatically increases demand for new technology, skill and tooling for all repairs.
Vehicle batteries are sensitive and house dangerous liquids. Among the dangers are risks from:
- Electric shock
- Spilled electrolytes – battery acid
There are many recorded incidents of battery-powered vehicles suffering serious fires.
While manufacturers regularly take precautions they are no guarantee against poor repairs. Automotive experts warn:
“Every event in a vehicle’s life has to be considered, an event considered minor for conventional vehicles can be harmful to Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery systems.”
Actions that represent risks from collisions or mishandling include:
- Improperly de-energizing batteries before towing
- Incorrectly lifting and towing vehicles
- Tools hitting the batteries
- Batteries cracked or otherwise damaged in a collision, lifting or towing
- Over-heating for paint curing
- Incorrectly reconnecting batteries and components
Take Advantage Of Paintless Dent Repair
Owning a hybrid or EV is a major commitment so relying upon trained professionals when it needs repairs makes sense, right? That goes for collision and damage repair as well as routine maintenance. Scrapes, dings, scratches and dents are common anywhere you drive. And they’re not problems of any special make, model or propulsion type. Someday, you’ll need a blemish touched up – hopefully nothing more serious! Choosing a body shop repair facility that’s up to date on the ever-changing realm of EV and hybrid technology is an investment in peace of mind. Automotive technology is changing almost daily. So must the technology and techniques of the auto shop technician.
Among the most important techniques, and one at which AutoColor excels, is paintless dent repair (PDR). On vehicles where steps in the painting process are risky, avoiding repainting is a wise move, right?
Advances in PDR make minor dent removal easier and less invasive. It avoids metal work and the complications of painting, or more to the point, drying and curing the paint. Not only does the process save time and reduce the risk to an EV or hybrid, it is less costly than traditional dent repair and painting. It offers the following advantages as well:
- Fast, efficient dent repair – often completed in a day
- Deals with rounded dents the size of small coins up to the size of softball or football
- Corrosion protection for the metal beneath
- Maintains the integrity of the original paint and clear coat
Find A Pro For EV Collision Repair
AutoColor’s experienced repair and paint professionals stay abreast of the latest technology. When your electric or hybrid car, truck or SUV needs body work, contact us for an expert consultation and recommendations for the most efficient solution. We have two of the top auto body specialty shops in the Madison area. Call or stop into our shop in Middleton on Parmenter Road or on Madison’s East Side on Stoughton Road near Buckeye. You’ve made a significant investment in a special car, SUV or truck. Putting the area’s best technicians to work on is a worthy investment, too, right? We’re at your service whenever you need EV collision repairs anywhere the Madison WI area.