The Future of the Automotive Repair IndustryWith the rise of technology, many are questioning the future of the automotive repair industry. Here we will look at auto repair industry trends.
Auto Repair Industry Trends
As technology advances, consumers expect fast, efficient, and high quality maintenance. Therefore, it is extremely important for you, the auto mechanic, to be aware of what is changing in the industry and what you are expected to know. Perhaps the largest technological advancement in the automotive industry is the introduction of electric vehicles. Electric vehicles impact the future of the automotive repair industry in many different ways. This article will look at how electric cars produce new auto repair industry trends while also securing the future of the automotive repair industry.
Understanding Electric Cars
In order to see how electric cars are impacting the future of the automotive repair industry, it is important to understand how they work in the first place. To start off, there are two major types of electric cars that are on the roads today. The most popular has been around for a while, hybrid-electric cars. Along with hybrids, all-electric cars are taking to the streets across the world.
As you may know, hybrids are a mix between a traditional internal combustion engine and an electric drive-train. In hybrid-electric cars, the electric systems are used to even out the power needs in the vehicle. This allows the IC engine to focus on efficiency rather than trying to do everything as it does in an all-gas car. So, most hybrid-electric cars do not ever run on electricity alone. Instead, the two halves work hand-in-hand to create a highly fuel efficient car, especially when driving locally.
There is another type of hybrid-electric car which has a larger battery that the car can use to drive up to 40 miles off of. These are not as common but they are around. These cars are great for individuals who want a highly efficient car but need a longer range vehicle.
As their name implies, all-electric cars have no other source of energy other than electricity. These are some of the most efficient cars to ever be driven. This does come at a cost though. When it comes to all-electric cars, consumers either have an inexpensive car with very low range or a very expensive car with comparable range to an ICE car. Along with that, all-electric vehicles can pose some challenges to auto mechanics.
This is a result of the mechanics of the cars being fun more and more by code rather than the turning of an engine. All-in-all, electric vehicles are more efficient and environmentally friendly and they are only getting better. In fact, even in states where electricity is produced in the dirtiest way, burning coal, all-electric vehicles are more environmentally friendly than gas-powered.
How do Electric Cars Impact Auto Repair?
Many have speculated that electric cars are the beginning of the end for auto mechanics. This is outright wrong. Electric cars are ushering in a new generation of auto mechanics. Fixing an electric car will not require very much “dirty work” as the mechanics of the vehicles are much more accessible being spread out across the entire body of the vehicle rather than crammed into the car hood. Along with that, vehicles are getting much better at identifying what is wrong with the vehicle without any input from a technician.
Most of the “regular” maintenance required for ICE cars is non-existent for all-electric cars. For example, you can say goodbye to oil changes. Along with that, there are far fewer moving parts to an all-electric car with about 20 moving parts while ICE cars have about 2,000 moving parts. Of course, they will still need brake, suspension, and windshield wiper maintenance. Compared to all the maintenance necessary to keep an ICE car running smoothly, this is very minimal regular maintenance.
The best real-life example of how the future of auto repair will look is Tesla’s auto repair. Tesla is one of the only auto manufacturers to have an extremely large infrastructure of their own electric vehicle mechanics. Although some of it is similar to how other manufacturers train their technicians, like the Tesla START program, most of it is much different.
Auto Repair Industry Trends: Code-Powered Cars
So, most maintenance on electric cars will be more software driven. Understanding code and the relationship that software has with new vehicles will become an essential skillset for anyone working in the auto repair industry in the future. Although there will still be many different tasks to complete with your hands, auto mechanics will have more tasks that resemble a computer software engineer.
In fact, most new vehicles contain large amounts of code. With 100 million lines of code in most modern high-end cars, auto mechanics need to be fluent in this language. To put this amount of code in perspective, this is more code than in an F-35 Fighter Jet and even a Boeing 787.
How Many Lines of Code
- Modern High-End Car: 100 Million
- Large Hadron Collider: 50 Million
- F-35 Fighter Jet: 24 Million
- Boeing 787: 14 Million
- Chevy Volt: 10 Million
- Mars Curiosity Rover: 5 Million
- Hubble Space Telescope: 2 Million
What’s Next for the Automotive Repair Industry?
With about 90,000 repair locations, the future of the automotive repair industry will be much smaller. Most stand-a-lone repair shops will be wiped out as the software necessary to repair this new age of vehicles will be extremely expensive. Along with that, repair locations that specialize in oil changes will be forced to change their business plan or go out of business. This means that there will be fewer auto mechanics but the mechanics should have more training than they do today.
In the end, electric cars are still in their infancy so the long-term maintenance of these vehicles is still just speculative. It is assumed that there will be less maintenance in the long-term but nothing can be certain until the long-term has taken place. So, we have one piece of advice if you are aspiring to be an auto mechanic, never stop learning. You will need to adjust as vehicles adjust so that you can continue doing the thing you love, working on cars!
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