In the previous post, it was indicated that, due to the technological features of electric cars, maintenance, and repair processes of these vehicles would change completely. In today’s post we talk about them.

The electric vehicle maintenance: A cheaper process

One of the most remarkable features of the electric car maintenance is that it is cheaper than that of combustion engine. The latter is much complex since there are more spare parts and installations to maintain from time to time.

For instance, in the EV technology, we do not find a timing system, so there is no timing belt to be changed and whose breakdown is one the most expensive we can find.

Obviously, there is no fuel, and therefore that means the elimination of the needed pumps and filters. The intake air system also disappears, the fact that there is no fuel supposes the absence of tailpipe and therefore catalysts and particle filters. There is no oil change either and depending on the type of electric vehicle, the clutch disappears too.

Then, there is no maintenance to be done?

Yes, it is just not as intensive and frequent as that of combustion engine vehicles.

To have a simple idea, an electric car consists of the following parts:

  • The electric traction motor or motors
  • The inverters to turn the Alternate Current to Direct Current
  • The battery packs
  • The on-board charger

Each of these components work at an optimal temperature, and this means that a cooling system must exist to keep such temperatures with its respective electric pumps. The latter obviously requires of a maintenance process. A maintenance check of brakes, tires, steering or gearbox (if any) must be done too.

But when it comes to purely electric cars technology, there is hardly any maintenance as such. From the electric motor only shaft-bearing requires of it, since if it breaks down, there would not be other choice but to make a complete change of the motor.

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The EV repair process

The repair of the electric car is not a process like that of those that work with a combustion engine. Above all, at an initial stage, the operators must carry out a series of preventive measures related to the electrical current.

First, it is mandatory to be, at least, 2 operators with their corresponding PPE who, for a start, carry out the physical disconnection of the high voltage battery pack power supply.

Among the PPEs that operators should bring are:

In case of electric shock:

  • Electric protection gloves UNE-EN 60903 (Class 00 or 0)
  • UNE-EN 50365 Electricity Insulating Helmet
  • UNE-EN 50286 electric shock protective jumpsuit
  • UNE-EM 50321 insulating footwear

In case of electric arc:

  • Face screen or mask EN 160 / EN 170
  • UNE-EN 61482-1-2 Power Protection Gloves
  • Protective jumpsuit UNE-EN 61482-1-1

Next it must be ensured that the ignition key is disconnected to avoid AC circulation. The same with the electrical connector from the battery, verifying at the same time the absence of electricity between terminals at the end of the main battery connector.

Finally, it is sure that it will sounds familiar to you the burning of lithium-ion battery. This can happen and of course it requires an extinguishing means of the fire generated if any. But it must be considered that the fire generated by this type of batteries is classified of Class D fire.

In short, that an explosion occurs if this fire meets water, so a 507-type extinguisher is required that serves to extinguish these kinds of fires.

What is repaired in an electric vehicle?

Battery Packs: Not repaired. In any case, replacement of complete modules is allowed. Repair is not allowed for the risks involved in handling lithium cells, as well as their economic unviability.

Electric motor(s): These are considered black boxes, i.e. as with gearboxes. In the event of a breakdown, a cutting operation is not carried out, but is changed directly. This also happens with inverters and on-board chargers.

Moreover, as far as diagnostic systems are concerned, they follow the same procedures and protocol as in combustion vehicles. This means that two-way communication can be established with all vehicle control units: electric motors, inverters, charger, and battery pack.

As for the last point, the operator will be able to see each of the modules that make up the battery pack, which means being able to see the average voltage of each of these modules, as well as the measurement of the internal resistance of each of these.

On the next post we will see how we can help you from EGA Master, which tools and means we can put on your disposal for the relevant EV operations.

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Claves en el mantenimiento y reparación de un vehículo eléctrico - Ing. David Alonso Lorenzo