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Independent repair shops report impact of battery and hybrid electric vehicles

IMR Inc. interviewed 1,000 shops to gain insight into their service of BEVs/HEVs, investment in specific tools/equipment and training for techs

Naperville, Ill.—IMR Inc., a full-service automotive market research firm, has released its latest insights on how battery and hybrid electric vehicle service is impacting independent repair shops.

Between May 3 and June 30, 2021, IMR Inc. interviewed 1,000 independent repair shops in the U.S. to gain insight into their service of battery and hybrid electric vehicles and investment in specific tools, equipment and training for technicians to work on these newer vehicle technologies.

Three out of every 100 vehicles (3.1 percent) serviced at an average independent repair shop are BEVs, while HEVs account for 6.2 percent of the vehicles serviced. Shops located in the West (7.7 percent) have nearly double the percentage of business from HEVs over shops located in the Midwest (4.2 percent).

Of independent repair shops that service BEVs and HEVs, 89.4 percent have seen an increase in the number of BEVs coming in for service, while 87.4 percent have seen an increase in HEVs coming in for service.

However, only 27.5 percent of shops have invested in tools and equipment to service BEVs/HEVs among all independent repair shops. In comparison, 30.5 percent of shops said they had invested in additional/specialized training for technicians focused on electric or hybrid vehicles. Overall, larger shops (more than eight bays) made more investments in tools, equipment and training (48.9 percent) than their smaller competitors (26.4 percent).

With the increasing market penetration of BEVs/HEVs and rapidly evolving technologies, independent repair shops that service these vehicles recognize the importance of keeping up with current information. More than 46 percent of shops reported that their primary supplier provides updates on the latest industry trends regarding BEVs/HEVs, while 53.3 percent of shops said theirs does not.

While 67 percent of independent repair shops indicate that a portion of their business comes from servicing BEVs, more than 55 percent of shops surveyed believe it will take more than 10 years for BEVs/HEVs to impact their business. More than 13.4 percent of shops believe that these vehicle types will never impact their business.

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