Calgary, Alberta – For Laura Whittle, business support specialist for the Collision Repair Network with the OEC and with 15 years of environment, health and safety experience in the energy industry, the continued electrification of the automotive industry is an exciting time.
With 60 percent of new car sales by 2030 and 100 percent by 2035 in Canada expected to be zero emissions, Whittle told the audience at Collision Repair magazine’s EV Tour, supported by Fix Network, that electrification is something to look forward to as previously luxury cars become the tools for the everyday and technology continues to advance.
Here, Whittle highlighted emerging technologies such as inroad charging that is being trialed in Florida, and the continued improvement in ADAS systems.
However, despite excitement, Whittle also noted that the rapid pace of change can also lead to a lack of consistency across OEMs and this in turn, can create difficulties for auto shops.
Whittle discussed how many shops are currently facing overwhelming challenges when it comes to recruiting and training staff, communicating with insurers, keeping up-to-date with training procedures and OEM procedures, and parts manufacturing and parts availability.
Whittle further discussed how, with technology developing at a rapid pace, customer culture is also changing. As more and more customers adopt electric vehicles, they are becoming more and more tech savvy, and this impacts the way that they expect repairs to be done on their vehicles.
Where before, customers would purchase a vehicle because they liked the car itself, for Whittle, more and more customers are adopting the culture surrounding a vehicle over the vehicle itself by purchasing a car specifically because of the technological features it has to offer.
As a result, customers who were previously familiar with ICE vehicles—or who have not previously been used to vehicles at all—are now adopting vehicles with extra power and speed, and this can lead to an increase in collisions.
Even with the potential for risk and with the potential loss of familiar footing that can come with change, Whittle reminded the audience that this is a process that occurs with every new technology.
The solution to electrification stress is to embrace the family mindset of the automotive industry.
For Whittle, “it is important to lean on each other in the industry,” and to rely on different industry members’ specializations to continue moving forward.
As part of this community mindset, it is also important for Whittle to establish a “predictable outcome” whereby all facets of the industry are working on the same level when it comes to information and procedures.
“If you are not following OEM procedures or do not have the right PPE, then you are falling behind,” Whittles told the audience.
Thankfully, “there is time to catch up.”
To do this, the automotive industry must continue to create an open dialogue where questions and concerns can be raised and solved.
For Whittles, when it comes to EV preparedness, “you don’t have to take it on all by yourself.”
Watch Whittle’s full presentation below: