PMM’s Kieran Nee catches up with Delphi’s workshop solutions technical lead, Phil Mitchell to find out what the aftermarket company has got lined up to help technicians take on Tesla vehicles in their workshop.
It would be safe to say that the electrification of vehicles’ powertrains has galvanised the automotive industry in a way that hasn’t happened since the introduction of the diesel engine. All of a sudden, the cars we drive and how we drive them are regularly headline news and the source of heated debates between rent-a-gob pundits. There is a risk that this fast-paced (literally) technology will leave the repair sector behind if technicians don’t take it upon themselves to join training course and gain some accreditation.
To be fair, considering the speed with which the government is ordering a switch from ICE vehicles to EVs, the aftermarket has done a commendable job of signing up for training on handling EVs. These courses, however, have mostly focussed on the health and safety aspect of working with EVs. What this training mostly provides workshops, is the ability to perform routine service and maintenance tasks in a safe manner with the battery successfully isolated. What most workshops have yet to tackle is anything to do with the battery or in-depth diagnostics on EVs.
This is something that was emphasised in my recent chat with Delphi Technologies’ Phil Mitchell. Phil, now EMEA workshop solutions technical lead, will be familiar to many readers for having provided Delphi training in the UK. He told me that there was a growing problem of specifically Tesla owners finding they were unable to get their vehicles repaired – or even serviced or having a tyre changed – by independent garages. Why might this be? Well, in Phil’s words, the aftermarket is “fairly scared of Tesla vehicles.” Phil contrasts Mr Musk’s vehicle-cum-tech company with the legacy brands also active in the EV market, noting that when it comes to diagnosing Teslas with aftermarket tools, it’s difficult to know where to start.
Up until around a year and a half ago, Phil tells me, Tesla was a closed book when it came to releasing its data to the aftermarket. It was “excruciatingly expensive” to access its dealer tools, and there were no aftermarket diagnostics tools offering Tesla coverage. So, what has Delphi done to help the aftermarket with its Tesla dilemma? Phil explains: “We took a two-pronged attack. We are launching diagnostic software with Tesla capabilities and now, we are accompanying that with an e-training module on our Delphi Academy to guide technicians through some key diagnostic processes for Teslas. The aim is to provide a full solution for workshops in order to enable them to work on Teslas.”
No aftermarket diagnostics tool will have as much capability as the dealer tool, so will the training academy’s online course focus simply on the tasks which the tool can complete? Not according to Phil: “We looked at the all the common jobs workshops will be doing – the ones they make the most money on – and we included lots of information about the cars themselves, everything you would need to know to comfortably repair them. But we also look at what jobs you can carry out using the Tesla OE software, which you can’t using our tool.”
The 11-part e-learning course takes users step-by-step through getting set up and acquainted with Teslas and counts towards a user’s IMI CPD credits.