Framingham, Massachusetts – Auto technicians are concerned about a significant gap between their concerns over electric and hybrid vehicles and what manufacturers are providing to them, according to a new study by IDC Manufacturing Insights.

The study, conducted in collaboration with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), found that while service technicians are concerned about the potential impact that electric and hybrid vehicles might have on their safety, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) do not have as high concerns. Furthermore, within OEM survey respondents, half of those in management roles expect service safety in electric vehicles will improve, compared to only about 25 per cent of designers and service information developers.

As the number of electric vehicles (EVs) continue to grow, so do the challenges of servicing and repairing them effectively and safely. The survey also found there is a gap in OEM and technician opinions about the efficacy of service tools to ensure technician safety such as training, safety instructions and service manuals, and while many OEMs are aligning their initiatives to close these gaps, others do not have such plans.

The relatively small number of EVs and hybrids on the road today means that most technicians have had limited exposure to their powertrains, but as EV technology proliferates and complexity advances, the importance of accurate and up-to-date service information and the continual safety of these service technicians will increase.

The survey also found that technicians at independent repair facilities are less prepared to handle the safety challenges than those at dealerships.

“Electric and hybrid vehicles employ high-voltage drivetrain batteries and the required charging systems will potentially have a profound impact on the safety of service technicians in the field,” said Sheila Brennan, program manager, Aftermarket and Service Strategies at IDC Manufacturing Insights. “Our study found that the service information provided by OEMs does not optimally meet the needs of service technicians. And while many OEMs are working to improve service and safety information, some of these initiatives may be misaligned with how the technicians themselves perceive their needs.”

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