We all understand that electric vehicles are designed differently from standard gas-powered cars. That’s part of their draw, after all. But not everyone is aware of just how different they really are. People often struggle to distinguish electric vehicles from hybrids from plug-in hybrids. But these differences have massive implications, especially when it comes to panel beating and repairing the cars after an accident.
Repairing electric vehicles requires a unique set of skills and equipment that not all garages can provide. If you’re going to stay safe on Australia’s roads, you’ll need an experienced and reliable panel beater to restore your electric car.
Sheen Group are certified electric vehicle panel beaters. Our trained and qualified technicians will conduct comprehensive reviews of your car to ensure everything works precisely as it should.
Here’s a rundown of how Sheen’s expert EV panel beaters can get your electric car back on the road.
We Repair All Types of Electric Vehicles
- Electric vehicles (EVs) are powered purely by electricity. They have a rechargeable electric vehicle battery that powers an electric motor and do not have engines or fuel tanks.
- Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) have the electric battery/motor powertrain, as well as conventional combustion engines. When the battery drains, the car switches over to the combustion powertrain and uses a portion of the power generated to recharge the battery.
- Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) bridge the gap between HEVs and EVs. These vehicles also pair electric and fuel powertrains, and rely on the electric motor for short drives and coasting, and switch to fuel for longer trips.
- Internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles are the conventional fuel-powered vehicles we all recognise.
What Kind of Maintenance & Repairs Do Electric Vehicles Need?
As specialists in electric vehicle smash repairs, we understand better than most that EVs have unique needs. Unlike regulate ICE vehicles, there is little you can do to maintain your electric vehicle, especially after an accident.
Our mechanics must contend with high-voltage batteries and high-performance hardware; we also understand the intricacies of the specialised materials used and determine how best to restore them.
Here are some of the common problems we help solve on a daily basis (and how you, as an owner of an electric vehicle can keep your car in tip top shape).
Smash Repairs for Lightweight Materials
To improve the efficiency of their electric vehicles (and hybrid electric vehicles), manufacturers attempt to do two things:
1. Increase battery efficiency
2. Decrease overall car weight
Easier said than done. Electric vehicle batteries are heavy as it is, but they’re also required to be surrounded by protective armour, which significantly adds to the weight. EV batteries can be up to 200kg heavier than their fuel-powered counterparts. With that weight comes specialised suspension and chassis reinforcement, which only adds more weight.
As a result, electric car manufacturers must cut weight wherever they can, using lightweight materials like carbon fibre, aluminium and ultra-high-strength steel for the body of the vehicle. The same is true of hybrid vehicles.
These materials can be extremely difficult to mend after an accident, and repairing electric cars without entirely replacing parts takes experience and hard work. But those are precisely the qualities that make Sheen the most reliable expert at EV smash repairs.
Safe Battery Maintenance
The smash repair process may require handling or removing the battery pack within your electric or hybrid vehicle. That can be a dangerous job for unqualified mechanics. Handling an electric car's battery requires specialised equipment and training to use it safely.
On repair jobs where the battery has not been damaged and does not need to be handled, mechanics need to be trained in best practices to avoid accidentally damaging it. That wouldn’t just be bad for the car — it would be unsafe for staff and customers.
For example, scraped paint on an electric car may only need simple, straightforward repainting. But car paint dries under high heat. Exposing the battery to high temperatures for extended periods decreases its lifespan.
Fixing even the most slight damage with the wrong solution can have lasting consequences. However, our in-depth understanding of electric cars allows us to do every job correctly, affordably and on time.
Driver Assistance Updates and Exterior Sensor Repair
Almost all electric vehicles are equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). These systems assist with parallel parking, lane alignment and pedestrian avoidance. You’ll find many of these systems in existing vehicles, and they will eventually become standard in all vehicles.
These systems don’t just exist within the onboard computer; they rely on delicate and carefully calibrated exterior sensors, too. Despite their fragility, these sensors need to be located on or near the areas most at risk of damage during an accident, such as bumpers and side mirrors.
Sheen’s mechanics have the skills to repair or replace ADAS technology and ensure that they are precisely re-calibrated before you get back on the road.
Electric Motors Have Fewer Moving Parts — But That Creates a Different Type of Complexity
You may already know that electric motors require fewer mechanical components. Repairing a damaged motor is therefore an entirely different process compared with standard cars.
Electric motors deliver direct drive, meaning that the energy of the battery pack passes directly into the wheels. In contrast, ICE cars need a gearbox and clutch, to direct that power. That’s not all, of course. Many of the components necessary in an ICE car are entirely absent from an EV, such as spark plugs and drive belts, and there aren’t any gears greased in engine oil to tinker with.
This reduced complexity can make servicing an electric car cheaper and quicker. But if these simple components are damaged in an accident, they cannot be so easily stripped into their mechanical components and replaced as necessary.
Specialised EV mechanics are required to repair, restore or replace the unique components found within electric vehicles. The more experienced your repairer, the lower you can keep your costs.
Regenerative Braking Saves the Brake Pads
ICE cars have a mechanical braking system; when you hit the brakes, the brake pads and disk clamp together to slow wheels. The friction between releases a significant amount of energy, which is usually lost as heat. But in an EV, that energy is captured and transferred back into the electric motor.
Since they don’t have batteries, standard fuel-powered cars don’t have regenerative braking systems. Standard smash repair mechanics will not have the training, knowledge or equipment to repair your regenerative braking system if it’s damaged. Sheen’s EV smash repairers do.
Sheen is Melbourne’s most reliable, fully certified electric vehicle smash repair expert. If you are worried your electric vehicle has sustained critical damage after a breakdown or accidents, give us a call today.