Electric car revolution: You bought one, but can you get it serviced?

It cost me $300 last year to buy a new battery for my Prius.  That was after going about 225,000 miles.  I thought that is expensive.  But when you TESLA or other electric vehicle needs a new battery be prepared to pay about $13,000—not a typo.

“One of the benefits of owning an electric car is that they require less maintenance and fewer trips to the service shop. EVs do not require oil changes or fuel filter replacements like cars with internal combustion engines, but occasional maintenance is still necessary. And finding someone to work on an EV — particularly if you do not live near a dealership certified to do so — can be a challenge.

Tesla sells more EVs than any other company in the world and has more than 150 service centers in the U.S. The company offers “over-the-air software updates, remote diagnostics” and “Mobile Service technicians” to reduce the need to visit a service center, according to the company’s website.

TESLA has 150 service centers for the whole country.  L.A. County has triple that number of Starbucks.  But, you can get your car “fixed” over the air, remotely they say.  Of course when the blackouts hit you will not be able to recharge your EV, nor use the Internet to get your car going.  But, at least you know you need to create a special fund to finance your $13,000 battery.

Electric car revolution: You bought one, but can you get it serviced?

Tesla, Ford, GM and other automakers that offer electric vehicles

By Breck Dumas FOX Business, 6/21/22  

As gas prices drive demand for electric vehicles, supply chain issues remain

Park West Mobility Service hasn’t seen this much demand for electric vehicles in at least five years. Fuel prices going up is driving the market for electric vehicles.

Interest in electric vehicles is on the rise in the U.S. amid record-high gas prices, and automakers are scrambling to roll out models as the Biden administration pushes its goal for EVs to account for half of all new vehicle sales by the end of the decade. 

But as more manufacturers introduce EVs, traditional dealerships are sounding the alarm over having the ability to service them for customers.

“The government’s wanting to make this transition and shift to EVs, and there are several concerns around that in the automotive vertical and specifically the dealership world,” says Sean Kelley, founder of CarMotivators, a coaching service for dealerships across the country. 

Kelley says service shops are already struggling with a shortage of technicians as it is, and finding qualified techs to work on EVs is an even taller order. Shops can also send current employees to specialized schools or training to become certified to work on EVs, but that pulls them off the shop floor and cuts into the bottom line at a time when dealerships are relying more on service to keep up with the high demand for sellable used vehicle inventory amid new car shortages. 

Electric cars also require specialized tools that are “not cheap” and additional infrastructure for a dealership, Kelley told FOX Business. He points out that servicing electric cars means they will have to add specialized tools, equipment, and charging stations through costly permits that “sometimes can involve tearing apart your whole shop.”

While many dealerships have already made such changes or are in the process of doing so, Kelley notes that independent dealerships that aren’t linked to an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) make up a large percentage of the retail automotive business, and may have even more difficulty making the transition to selling and servicing EVs. 

The transition also costs big bucks that lower-volume shops will have more difficulty absorbing. The Detroit News reported last year that General Motors required dealers to invest a minimum of $200,000 in order to begin selling Cadillac’s EV lineup. Of the 880 dealerships, between 180 and 200 smaller shops chose to take a buyout from GM rather than make the investment, according to the outlet.

But as demand increases, the ability to service EVs could become a necessity.

One of the benefits of owning an electric car is that they require less maintenance and fewer trips to the service shop. EVs do not require oil changes or fuel filter replacements like cars with internal combustion engines, but occasional maintenance is still necessary. And finding someone to work on an EV — particularly if you do not live near a dealership certified to do so — can be a challenge.

Tesla sells more EVs than any other company in the world and has more than 150 service centers in the U.S. The company offers “over-the-air software updates, remote diagnostics” and “Mobile Service technicians” to reduce the need to visit a service center, according to the company’s website.

One Tesla owner in Missouri, where there are two Tesla service centers — one in Kansas City and one in St. Louis — told FOX Business that the company typically sends a technician when service is needed, so it has not been a huge burden. 

Since they purchased their Model X in December 2020, the owner has made the two-hour trip to a service shop twice: once for an optional software upgrade and another time for a necessary fix for a broken suspension part and a tire alignment. They said it is worth it not to have to bother with the more frequent maintenance required for a car that runs on gasoline.

Several other carmakers said that their dealerships would be ready as they roll out more EV models.

A General Motors spokesperson told FOX Business that the company has added more than 70 field service engineers to support dealers for EV readiness, and that GM requires every dealership allowed to sell and service EVs to have a minimum of two technicians who have fully completed an EV training path. The spokesperson said that technicians must complete more than 60 courses in order to become a GM Master Class Technician.

GM also offers live interactive agents who provide support for dealers and customers alike on all their products, including their EV portfolio.

A Hyundai spokesperson told FOX Business that “preparing the entire dealership network to both sell and service electric vehicles and deliver an outstanding customer service experience is one of our main priorities.”

    
 

The spokesperson said that in order to sell the company’s new lineup of IONIQ electric vehicles, “dealers undergo extensive sales and service training, and enhance their facility with the proper service tooling, charging equipment and a dedicated display area.” 

They added, “We are fully committed to helping our dealer partners prepare for an electric future as we believe these investments represent a tremendous business opportunity to be a leader in more sustainable transportation.”

Ford told FOX Business more than 2,300 of its dealers are EV certified, with at least one EV-certified service technician on staff that has completed 147 hours in total training for advanced electronics and high voltage eLearning and classroom technical training. Some dealers already have multiple certified techs.

EV-certified Ford dealers are also required to have in place all the tools and equipment needed to service high voltage systems.

Elizabeth Tarquino, Ford’s manager for technical support operations, said 4,252 of the 40,000 Ford technicians have already completed the company’s high voltage certification class since it launched early last year, and that demand for the trainings is strong. 

She said that a lot of people are assuming that the transition to electric vehicles will happen immediately and that all of a sudden dealerships are going to switch over to all-electric, but that the changes will actually happen more like an evolution.

“It doesn’t happen overnight because we still have a lot of [internal combustion engines] on the road that we’ll still be servicing,” Tarquino told FOX Business. “It isn’t one or the other — we’re going to see a blend of ICE vehicles and electric vehicles and that will shift over time.”

As for maintenance, Tarquino said that she has been driving a Ford all-electric Mustang Mach E for over a year, and that she has not needed to take it in for service yet. She pointed out that a lot of the updates to EVs can be done “over-the-air” without requiring customers to visit a shop.

Aquino also noted that Ford sees it as a competitive advantage that so many of the dealerships in its network across the U.S. are already EV certified as more EVs roll out.

“So, hopefully,” she says, “we don’t have people having to drive two hours for service.”

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. If they can service the car “Over the air”, how easy is this going to be able to be hacked into? they are pushing these EVs on people and millions can’t afford them and their homes are equipped to charge them. Are they going to sell the EVs with a free charging station at their homes? With millions of more EVs on the road, how will the electric grid across this country handle it … Millions more plug up in evening to charge and the power goes out… I would think the first thing they need to get done is get the electric grid across the country upgraded to be able to handle all this…My house would have to be wired to even run an electric stove, but I don’t want on… if the power goes out, I can still cook with a gas stove and I can still take a hot shower with my gas water heater… And how do they expect a low income, senior citizens to be able to buy one or even pay to get new battery for these things… my sister knows someone who has an EV that is just sitting in the garage because to get a new battery for it is $25,000 …

    • Really??? says

      The hack issue is important. This is an issue with all computer operated autos.

      Oh and who will rotate the tires, replace the tires, and as miles build up fix the suspension?

      Now about pulling that battery in you gasoline car vs. a new battery for EV?

  2. Jim Coles says

    Only on the Left Coast would people actually buy an EV just because gas/diesel is expensive right now. One can buy a lot of $10 a gallon gas (God forbid!) for the price of that $50-$120k EV …
    I’ve literally eaten crow — it’s not that bad with ketchup (😎) but the next gigantic shortage will be of crow — the crow automobile executives will have to eat when (not if) their crazy-expensive EV delusions implode because The Folks don’t want or can’t afford their products.
    It’s pretty clear that the evil Left’s long-rolling coup is failing. It’s crystal clear that Dopey-Gropey Joe & Word Salad Kamala have failed and are the worst national disgrace since the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (Democrats did that) …
    Yeah, the bad guys have just about run their string to its end & will soon be replaced with bonafide adults …
    The EV delusion will die because of all possible transportation choices, EVs are the least sustainable with the rules of physics nature has given us
    The DemoComs will be just more detritus on the trash heap of history, EVs will exist only in Museums of the Weird and Fanciful Gadgets; and soon (but not soon enough for most folks) we can get back to the business of being Americans in America.

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