EV and hybrid vehicles

EVs and hybrids continue to capture the imagination of the public, while garages consider the practical implications going forward

Published:  13 July, 2021

Driver interest in used EVs rose by 18.85% during 2020, even with the pandemic and the closure of car dealerships during lockdown periods, according to an analysis by AA Cars, the AA’s used car website. If you roll it back a bit further, since 2015, searches for EVs on the site have increased by 4,623%. If the rate of growth seen on the site up until 16 March remains constant through the year, AA Cars said it will grow by a further 42% during 2021.
    
The growing interest seen by AA Cars in 2020 was reflected in real-world new car sales. While new car sales fell by 29.4% in 2020 in the UK, EV sales went up by 185.9% and made up 6.6% of the total share, up from 1.6% in 2019.
    
London had the highest number of searches for EVs in the country, with nearly 55,000 searches for EVs on AA Cars in 2019 and 2020. Bristol saw the second-highest number of searches for EVs in 2019 and 2020, followed by Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

Looking elsewhere in the country, drivers in Taunton made more than 2,200 searches for EVs in 2020, with interest up 1,395% compared to the previous year. Searches increased by 453% in Kingston upon Hull and 315% in Coventry
    
Commenting on the findings, James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars commented: “Interest in EVs and environmentally-friendly vehicles has been growing at pace over recent years and has accelerated further still during the pandemic. The good news for drivers taking their first steps towards buying an EV is that there is an ever-growing fleet of electric cars coming onto the second-hand market.”

Money beats planet on EV switch
As mainstream drivers lean more towards EVs, financial considerations seem to be taking over from environmental concerns as the main incentive for buying one, with charging also shifting away from the home.
    
According to a survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of CTEK, 52% of drivers are holding off on buying an EV specifically due to the cost. 24% of those surveyed said availability of subsidies is the biggest incentive for taking the plunge, although just 9% of existing EV drivers have taken advantage of a government subsidy. In contrast, 35% of citing the environment as their main reason for purchase. 90% of existing EV drivers are likely or very likely to buy an EV again, rising to 100% of 18-23-year olds. 33% of EV drivers said low running costs were the main reason for buying, but only 18% of non EV drivers giving this as their main reason for considering the switch.
    
The survey also reveals a gradual move away from home charging, with 68% of EV drivers preferring to charge their vehicles at home. 37% of EV drivers are now using public charge points, 12% are charging at work and 9% at petrol stations.
    
The availability and reliability of the UK charging infrastructure remain a concern. While 74% of UK adults believe that EVs are the future of road travel, 78% feel the charging infrastructure is not adequate to support growth, compared with 65% in the other European countries surveyed.
    
The survey of 1,667 UK drivers was carried out as part of a wider survey of 15,174 people across the UK, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, and was officially launched on Tuesday 27 April at the Everything EV Summit, taking place virtually from 20 to 29 April, and where CTEK’s Global Head of E-Mobility Cecilia Routledge was presenting. She said: “With previous estimates of up to 90% of EV charging taking place at home, this is a fairly significant shift, and we can expect the need for public and destination charging to intensify as the UK starts to come out of lockdown. Not only that, permanent changes to working patterns are likely to result in people visiting their workplace less often, so EV owners with nowhere to install a home ChargePoint will increasingly need to rely on public chargers and those at destinations like shopping centres and supermarkets.
    
“Some drivers say they rarely see charge points when out and about, and that the few they do see are nearly always either in use or out of order. In fact, some EV drivers have even gone back to a petrol vehicle because of lack of charging points, including one couple who commented in the survey that they’d tried to map out a trip to North Yorkshire using en-route charging points, but that it simply wasn’t possible.”
    
Cecilia added: “This highlights the need for a well-planned charging network that meets the requirements of local drivers and visitors alike, that is visible and, most importantly, reliable.”
  
 A full report is available at www.ctekemobility.com

Bosch: Electric/Hybrid Vehicle System Awareness
Training will continue to be vital as EVs and hybrids continue their progress towards mainstream acceptance. With this in mind, Bosch has launched a new EV and hybrid online training course. Electric/Hybrid Vehicle System Awareness is a non-technical course suited to staff in a wide variety of roles including service managers, front-of-house, parts advisors, drivers, valeters, recovery personnel and others.
    
The course is delivered online as a pair of two-hour modules in a virtual classroom, run by dedicated Bosch trainers. Upcoming dates currently on the slate are as follows:

  •  Friday 11 June
  •  Friday 27 August
  •  Monday 1 November


For more information or to book your slot go to: www.bosch-training-solutions.com/countries.html


Good things come in three
Meanwhile, LKQ Euro Car Parts has invested in three hybrid vehicles, in response to growing demand for hybrid and EV training courses. Through its AutoEducation Academy, over 1,500 technicians will receive hybrid and EV repair training, with courses available at levels two, three and four. All are included in the IMI’s Tech Safe Scheme.
    
Level two covers routine maintenance activities and terminology, while Level three builds on this with system repair and replacement training, more advanced electrical regeneration, rectification and regulation skills. Lastly, level four delves deeper into diagnostics, testing and more advanced repairs.
    
Adam White, Workshop Solutions Director at LKQ Euro Car Parts, observed: “The government’s deadline on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles is less than nine years away, and many manufacturers are setting themselves more ambitious targets between now and then. With only 5% of technicians currently trained on hybrid and electric vehicles, now is the time for the rest to catch up.”
    
He added: “Our AutoEducation Academy gives technicians the skills and knowledge they need to take advantage of this key revenue stream and run successful businesses, now and in the future. Hybrids are already relatively common in the independent aftermarket and it won’t be long before EVs are too.”
For more information, visit www.autoeducationacademy.com


Vibration
As the sales of electric and hybrid cars to continues to grow, garages need to be kitted out and staff trained up order to face new servicing challenges This we know. While a great degree of the focus is on the electronic architecture of these vehicles, garages should also consider new challenges associated with traditional components.
    
Commenting on overcoming EV vibrations, and the NVH conundrum, Pro-Align CEO Clive Seabrook, CEO said: “As part of the EV revolution, workshops will undoubtedly see more customers who have concerns about vibration issues. Replacing an internal combustion engine with an electronic drivetrain means that drivers will be much more aware of other vibrations, such as those from wheel and tyre assemblies, that would previously have been masked by those coming from the engine. Consequently, workshops need to prepare for this with equipment that can diagnose and solve these issues efficiently and effectively. The solution is the Hunter Road Force Elite (RFE) diagnostic wheel balancer as traditional wheel balancers are unable to solve the most challenging and subtle of wheel vibration issues other than by trial and error alone.”


Unique
Clive continued: “Adopting a unique diagnostic approach, the RFE can provide a fast, first-time fix to any wheel-vibration problems, even doing so in less time than a standard wheel balancer. The RFE differs from standard balancers as it measures tyre forces known as Road Force Variation (RFV) and Lateral Force (LF) to conduct a full diagnostic of the wheel and tyre assembly. It does this by scanning the wheel rim and applying a load via a roller to take the wheel and tyre assembly on a simulated road test. Once RFV is identified, the balancer provides a ‘Force Matching’ recommendation which matches the stiff spot on the tyre with the low spot on the wheel rim, minimising any vibrations to give a smoother ride. Where LF is identified due to conicity of the tyres, the RFE even advises of the best position on the vehicle to counteract it for a straighter drive.”
    
Clive added: “Undoubtedly, motorists are going to become more demanding of workshops with regard to wheel vibration issues. Of course, this isn’t exclusively an EV issue as ride quality continues to improve on all cars. Thankfully though, we’re delighted that once again, the insightful engineers at Hunter have been among the first to identify this future problem and develop a solution that will help workshops provide their customers with the very best levels of service.”



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