This article first appeared in the June 2021 edition of the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association Magazine.
electric vehicles – the do’s and dont's
In Australia, it is expected that around a third of all new vehicles sold by 2024 will be battery electric vehicles (BEV) or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).
There's a lot of misinformation about electric vehicles, even amongst dealerships, so here's some of what we know as EV charging and conversions specialists.
Identification of an EV
Firstly, can you identify a BEV or PHEV when it comes to your workshop? Look for the mandatory blue diamond 'EV' sticker on both number plates, plus badging on the side, front or rear of the vehicle that says 'EV', 'Zero Emissions' or 'Hybrid'.
You should also ensure you can identify high voltage cabling before working on an EV. Generally, all cables and components that are orange - conduit or plastic covered wires - are high voltage, as are the components they terminate to.
This is a good time to mention personal protective equipment (PPE), as insulated tools, fire resistant long trousers or overalls and gloves relevant for work to AS2225:1994 and AS 2161.1.2016 should be procured for enhanced safety of your team.
Handling EVs in your workshop
When moving EVs around a workshop, extra care must be taken. Ensure ignition key is on (to allow release of electric handbrake), place the vehicle in neutral, engage the handbrake and disconnect the 12V accessory battery.
Under no circumstances should an EV be lifted via the battery pack. For example, a floor scissor lift should never be used to raise the electric vehicle for servicing. Some EVs will require hoisting jacks, which are often carried by the EV owner.
EV safety inspection
You should conduct a thorough safety inspection before servicing work is carried out, including checking all HV connections are firmly joined, and looking for water ingress into seals, damage or snags in HV cabling and battery pack integrity.
An inspection of the charging port and equipment, tyres, brakes, steering and suspension can then be carried out. Most importantly, a ‘state of health’ check of the EV traction battery should be completed using an appropriate scanning tool to determine if the battery management system (BMS) and charging module have any cells at fault or charging failures.
Because they have fewer moving parts, EV need less servicing than other vehicles. However, some common faults include:
· faulty sensors, such as proximity sensors for park assist and doors
· faulty charging cables & charge ports
· HV traction main fuse due to excessive current draw (such as hard acceleration)
· driveaway protection failure (while vehicle is connected to charging)
· battery balancing - check fault codes to diagnose
· BMS systems due to uneven battery voltages
EV HV Safety Training
To prepare yourself and your team for the transition to low-emission transport, EVUp has worked with a group of EV experts in Australia and New Zealand to build a quick and cost effective online training course.
AAAA members can access this course with a 10% discount. Go to https://evalliancetraining.thinkific.com and enter the coupon code ‘AAAA member’.