EV Education: Shocking, to Say the Least
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EV Education: Shocking, to Say the Least

I-CAR’s Dirk Fuchs and Niel Speetjens are running around the country scaring collision repairers about electric vehicles … and that’s a good thing.

Jason Stahl has 28 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 16 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

I’ve been running into Dirk Fuchs and Niel Speetjens a lot lately at various conferences across the country. And frankly, they’ve been scaring the heck out of me. And not just me but the entire collision repair industry.

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I guess it’s kind of their job. Fuchs, director of technical programs and services for I-CAR, and Speetjens, senior manager of ADAS/EV lab research and specialty training for I-CAR, have been touring the country impressing upon collision repairers how dangerous it is to work on electric vehicles (EVs) if you don’t follow safety procedures diligently and thoroughly. Speetjens will sometimes give a shimmy-shake in his presentation to mimic someone being electrocuted, which adds some dramatic effect.

You hear things like:

  • “EV safety is truly a matter of life and death.”
  • “If you give electricity the opportunity to flow through your body, it will!”

And something to the effect of cooking your innards and brain when you reach the fibrillation threshold.

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You’ll often hear whispering among the crowd and see people giving each other wide-eyed looks as if to say, “Can you believe this?”

As Fuchs said in his article on EV safety last month, there is no room for error. Every procedure and every recommendation from I-CAR and the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) must be followed exactly every time to avoid either the loss of life and/or the loss of your entire shop and your customers’ property from a thermal event. After all, it’s easy for EVs to catch fire and, like a trick birthday candle, that fire won’t go out.

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If you haven’t seen one of Fuchs’ or Speetjens’ presentations, I highly urge that you do. Not only are they informative and entertaining (because there has to be some comic relief at some point when you’re talking about something so gravely serious), but they bring us up to date on the new frontier of electric vehicles … one that we all have to prepare for.

To sign up for I-CAR’s EV training courses, click here.

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