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The Care and Feeding of Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles don’t require a lot of regular maintenance because there are fewer moving parts, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely maintenance free, and sometimes repairs can be complicated. My husband drives a hybrid BMW. After an accident, he had to replace two doors and didn’t understand why it took a while and was more costly than he thought it would be. 

I took him over to our sister company, On the Road Garage, and showed him all the parts they had to take off the car to disarm the batteries when replacing the doors. We tend to think of electric vehicles as having one giant battery, but there are lots of smaller ones, too, any one of which can kill a technician if not disabled properly.

On the Road Garage is gaining a reputation for working on electric vehicles. We are one of only three companies in North Texas certified to work on the Rivian Amazon electric delivery vans. In fact, the first Rivian Amazon electric delivery van in our region was repaired at our Irving shop. We’ve worked on countless Rivian trucks and SUVs and are also now certified to work on Teslas. 

As a shop owner, I am excited to be pioneering working on these cars and training our apprentices who will go to work at other shops. We are at the forefront of advanced vehicle technology. I also care very much about the safety of our employees. Fires that have occurred in electric vehicle accidents have proven difficult to put out with batteries continually reigniting. In collision shops, it’s necessary to remove the primary battery from the vehicle before it goes into the paint booth because of the risk of fire from the high heat level in the booths. They are essentially giant ovens. We’ve invested heavily in equipment to work on these cars, including purchasing special battery tables for our work on Rivian vehicles. Shops that have not been certified by the original equipment manufacturers are not able to work on these vehicles and cannot purchase the parts. It’s necessary to be trained and certified to work on them.

 I often hear people talk about the value proposition of electric vehicle ownership being superior to gas-powered cars because there are no maintenance costs. While it is true that electric vehicles do not have the same kind of routine maintenance (oil changes, belt/hose/filter replacement, transmission repair, etc.) that is required of gas-powered cars, it is important for electric vehicle owners to recognize that maintaining these cars is not cost free. The accident that my husband had involved a Tesla and would not be considered major, but the cost to repair both cars was nearly $20,000.