Let’s face it: All vehicles age, get tired and develop performance problems over time. This includes conventional gas-guzzlers and electric vehicles (EVs) —which include hybrid, plug-in and all-electric vehicles we see more and more of.
Like traditional other vehicles, EV owners face four critical decisions:
1) Do I buy new or used?
2) When should I sell?
3) Is there a better way to know when?
4) Who should I trust to care for my EV and help me find those answers?
EV Ownership Has Pros and Cons
During the early years of EV ownership, regular routine maintenance costs are lower than fuel-powered vehicles. In addition, so are the operating costs. In fact, the more gas prices rise, the greater the savings EV owners realize. But all vehicles, even EVs, can get begin to show signs of wear and tear. When high voltage components in EVs begin to wear out, owners may soon face shocking replacement costs.
An EV-savvy service and repair shop can make a huge difference in your ownership experience. When properly trained, its auto technicians and service advisors can help maximize the pros and minimize the cons, as well as provide answers when you need them.
High-voltage is changing the automotive service and repair landscape. Vehicle electrification has arrived like a tidal wave, driven by advanced automotive technologies that require more power. Conventional vehicles with 12-volt systems are beginning to transition to 48-volt. They, in turn, are yielding market share to EVs, which have components and systems onboard that use 300-volts or more.
Think of “Electricity on Steroids”
EV high-voltage systems use alternating current (AC) electricity, a major difference from conventional vehicles that rely on Direct Current (DC) for their juice. The complex technical jargon and theory are as foreign to most shops and auto mechanics as it is to you. To properly prepare for EVs, technicians have to develop all new AC instincts, which takes considerable education, training and time.”
That’s why Mancinelli's Auto Repair Center engaged Dr. Mark Quarto, of FutureTech Auto LLC, to provide ongoing training in servicing and advising EV customers. Since beginning his career at General Motors helping engineer the high-voltage Volt, he is now one of the world’s foremost educators on high-voltage electric vehicles and systems.
“The shop you choose for your EV maintenance and advice matters,” Dr. Quarto shared. “Preparing to service EVs requires knowing the differences between the many different EVs and conventional vehicles, understanding how differently high voltage electrified components and systems operate, and mastering new diagnostic procedures, testing methods and competencies that most mechanics have never seen or dealt with before. It’s a steep and difficult learning curve.”
Answers to Your “Tipping Point” Questions
When to buy or sell a vehicle can be vexing. Odd noises, odors, vibrations, abnormal and vehicle handling that catch your senses are early “old school” indicators that a fuel-powered vehicle is developing wear and tear issues. Then there are those pesky fluid leaks to deal with. There comes a tipping point where replacing that vehicle becomes more economical than continuing to repair it.
EVs also age, but behave differently. Over time, their high-voltage components and systems can develop “energy leaks.” While you cannot readily see or feel them, your wallet can, for they begin to lower the propulsion efficiency of your EV, the same way a regular car may burn more oil or fuel to go the same distance.
Fortunately, an EV service-ready shop like Mancinelli's Auto Repair Center has the training, tools, and know-how to perform an “insulation test” can measure how efficiently your EV is generating propulsion. When you first purchase your EV, ask for an insulation test to establish a known baseline. Your efficiency will never be higher. Then repeat this on an annual basis to build a trend line.
The drop in efficiency between tests — energy leakage — serves you as an indicator of unseen wear and tear. More specifically, it identifies which components (e.g. copper windings inside drive motors) are leaking energy that otherwise would be feeding propulsion.
Coupled with knowing the replacement costs for those components — which can be expensive — allows you to consider whether keeping your existing EV or buying a new one is more prudent. Alternatively, if you’re considering buying a used EV, a one-time induction test as part of a pre-inspection can help steer you toward or away from making that EV purchase.
Having a relationship with a shop that can perform induction tests and other EV services correctly helps you make informed decisions about buying, keeping or selling an EV. If this is the level of expertise you want for your EV, Mancinelli's Auto Repair Center would like to be your “go-to” shop.