While many traditional brands have info and parts readily available, Tesla, Rivian and EV newcomers don’t have repair information as accessible
San Diego—While California shops say they are already seeing a number of electric vehicles and that their technicians are trained and able to work on them, companies such as Tesla, while being the most popular EV on the road, have limited options for access to repair information and parts.
That was one of the pain points discussed among panelists featuring shop owners and moderator Ben Johnson, director of product management for Mitchell 1, during the Equipment & Tool Institute’s (ETI) Tool Tech conference, held recently at the Coronado Island Marriott in Coronado, Calif.
The panel pointed out that traditional brands have information and parts readily available; however, they are concerned that if companies such as Tesla, Rivian and other newcomers don’t make their information available through information providers, there will be a long-term impact as those vehicles continue to rise in popularity and age. A common theme during the panel discussion was, “Educate and inform us and we’ll be fine.”
Panelists included Brian Bowersock, Keith Benline and Randy Waitman, who are owners of repair shops in the San Diego area, and have more than 100 years of combined experience in vehicle repair and running successful businesses. The panel also included Lucas Underwood, president of L&N Performance Auto Repair in Blowing Rock, N.C.
“The resounding message from the panel discussion was that shop owners need to know what’s coming to their bays and when, as well as the need for service information and training for these new technologies,” said Johnson. “They recognize the expense of new tools and equipment, but it must be reasonable for them in order to continue effectively serving their communities.”
Another topic of the panel discussion was the increase in ADAS-equipped vehicles. One shop owner said they will be adding ADAS calibration capabilities in-house, while the other shop owners cited how expense, low volume and space requirements are driving them to “hub and spoke” relationships with shops that have the space and equipment to perform these calibrations.
The 75th anniversary event brought together those panelists and other thought leaders in the automotive repair industry to discuss current trends and how suppliers can best serve the repair community.
“I was honored to serve as the moderator for a lively discussion with repair shop owners as we dove into a number of hot industry topics, including the impact that ADAS and electric vehicles are having on shop businesses, the types of repairs that they are seeing now versus 10 years ago and other new technologies that are here or just on the horizon,” said Johnson.
Tool Tech focuses solely on automotive-related tool and equipment companies, and the individuals at the forefront of the industry and technological advances. Attendees go to Tool Tech to network with industry insiders, peers, OEM personnel and meet with key companies in the marketplace.