How to meet the rising EV demand

How to meet the rising EV demand

Laser Tools is urging readers to think seriously about what they’ll need in their workshop to meet the rising demand from EVs.

With increasing numbers of hybrid and electric vehicles on the road requiring maintenance, garage owners are keen to access this new market by offering the skills and equipment necessary to offer a full service and repair facility to the owner. For a number of years now Laser Tools has been offering independent garages solid, informed advice on the necessary tools and equipment they need to acquire to be fully equipped to service and repair these vehicles. The company has gained invaluable experience by working with both vehicle manufacturers and importers on the requirements for their main dealer service workshops when working on high voltage vehicles. This includes both normal service functions and specialist high voltage work. This experience has allowed Laser Tools to create suitable packages for independent workshops, and to pass on the knowledge they have gained.

Hybrid and BEV (battery electric vehicles) commonly operate with battery voltages typically from 300V DC to 800V DC – anything beyond 60V DC is classed as ‘high-risk’ and can cause serious injury or even fatalities.When we consider workshop safety concerns, it is important to look at the whole picture and subdivide ‘hybrid and BEV safety’ into four separate categories:

  • Workshop safety
  • Vehicle safety
  • Personal safety
  • High voltage tools and test equipment

Workshop Safety is about making the working environment safe – for employees, but also for members of the public or customers who may be near vehicles in the workshop. It is important that there should be a designated area cordoned off and identified as a ‘Danger – High Voltage’ area, and that high-voltage rescue and first-aid equipment be available in case of emergency.

How to meet the rising EV demand

Vehicle Safety is about making the vehicle safe for a technician to work on. PHEVs (Plug-in Electric Vehicles) and BEVs will normally have some form of ‘isolator’ switch, commonly known as an MSD (manual service disconnect), which should be removed before any work is carried out on the vehicle. This isolates the high voltage battery from the rest of the vehicle. However, it is important that others in the workshop are aware that this is a high voltage vehicle, and do not attempt to start, or move the vehicle. Thus appropriate warning signage, lock-out tags and locks etc. should be used.

The MSD should also be stored in a secure location away from the vehicle, to avoid the risk of someone accidently refitting it while a technician is still working on the vehicle. Once the MSD has been removed, the high voltage will take some time to dissipate – use of an appropriate ‘voltage absence’ tester and a simple timer, to verify lack of voltage, is essential before commencing any work.

Personal Safety is about providing protection for the technician working on the vehicle – appropriate insulated gloves and face shield should be worn to protect against high voltage leaks and arc flash risk, along with appropriate insulated safety footwear, or insulated floor matting. If working within the high voltage battery and/or circuitry, further specialist protection, such as full arc-flash safety workwear to protect against arc flash burns risk, may also be necessary as the technician will now be working within a live high voltage environment.

High Voltage Tools and Equipment – the electrical industry standard for test equipment that is to be used in a high voltage environment is known as the CAT standard; a minimum of CAT III 600v, or CAT IV 1,000v is required to ensure the test tools are suitable and safe for working on high voltage systems. Hand tools are required to be fully tested and insulated to IEC 60900:2018 standards and carry the international symbols for high voltage tools. Typical tools required will include socket sets, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, torque tools together with hex and Torx keys.

The safety of technicians, employees and customers must be assured – even if correct vehicle manufacturer procedures are followed, there is still risk – remember the vehicle may be in the workshop because of a fault or an accident. Nothing can be assumed – safety is paramount.

A wide variety of training programmes from different training providers are available – suitable for the type of work a business may be involved in – from car sales/valeting, vehicle recovery, basic servicing, to in-depth diagnostic work. It is important to select the correct type of training for the business, which may require more than one type of programme.

How to meet the rising EV demand

Starter packs

Laser Tools has approached the subject on the basis of offering a ‘one-stop-shop’ for workshop high voltage vehicle requirements, covering all aspects of workshop safety, vehicle safety, personal safety, and appropriate tools and equipment. In order to make it easier for the workshop owner to decide on basic requirements, the company has created a number of starter packs:

  • The Workshop Safety Pack (part number 6769) includes high voltage floor matting, an insulated rescue pole, high voltage/no admittance sign, danger – high voltage sign and a set of four barrier posts and bases, together with 25 metres of chain.
  • The Vehicle Safety Pack (part number 6770) includes two 1,000V insulated safety clamps, a 1.4m x 1.0m transparent safety shroud (1,000V rated), a steering wheel lockout cover, a nylon-bodied safety lockout padlock, a Do Not Start safety tag and a set of three (15, 15, 35mm) insulating shrouds for covering the ends of disconnected leads.
  • The Personal Safety Pack (part number 6771) consists of a protective arc-flash face shield, a carrying bag for the face shield, and an insulated glove set.
  • The Safety Tools Pack (part number 6772) includes a CAT III multimeter and high voltage insulation tester, a 25 piece 3/8in. drive insulated socket and tool set, a six piece VDE extra-long hex key set and a nine piece VDE star key set.

Laser Tools also offers a comprehensive range of GS and VDE certificated high voltage insulated tools from socket sets and torque wrenches to spanners and screwdrivers. The range also includes high voltage testers, clamp meters and insulation testers, all of which can be found in our latest specialist brochure for Hybrid & EV Tools and Safety Equipment.

Want to know more? For more information, click here.

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