Electric and hybrid vehicles
With the growth in environmental awareness, the use of electric and hybrid vehicles (E&HVs) is increasing. The recovery, repair, and maintenance of these vehicles outside the manufacturers and franchised dealership networks is increasing.
People in the motor vehicle repair and recovery industry are now more likely to come across E&HVs and as a result need to be aware of the additional hazards they may be exposed to when working with these vehicles. They may also need to develop a wider range of skills and knowledge and have access to specialist tools and equipment in order to be able to work safely.
Voltages present in E&HVs are significantly higher (currently up to 650 Volts direct current (dc)) than those used in other vehicles (12/24 Volts dc). In dry conditions, accidental contact with parts that are live at voltages above 110 Volts dc can be fatal. For E&HVs dc voltages between 60 and 1500 Volts are referred to as ‘high voltage’.
Battery systems may contain chemicals that can be harmful if released. They also store significant amounts of energy that can give rise to explosion if not dealt with correctly.
Additional skills and training will be necessary to allow people to work safely with E&HVs. The levels of competency required will vary greatly and are dependent on the type of work that people are expected to do. For example, an awareness of the additional risks is likely to be all that is required for people who undertake vehicle sales or valeting. People involved in vehicle repair and maintenance however, are likely to need a much greater level of competence in order to work on these types of vehicle safely.
So it is back to the training centres for both Mot Testers and vehicle technicians likely to work on E&HVs, as the increasingly stringent regulations regarding emissions and the likelihood of commercial vehicles being taxed on emissions must mean that the numbers of electrical and hybrid vehicles on our roads will certainly rise.