Sitting on the fence when it comes to EV training was no longer an option for MY Motoring in Gillingham. Editor Nicola St Clair joins them for some on-site training to learn how to safely work on high voltage vehicles.
I have been taking my cars, and recommending my family and friends take theirs, to the independent, family-run workshop down the road for years. Brothers James and Michael Cameron and the team at MY Motoring in Gillingham, Kent have provided a professional, friendly service to customers in the area since 2005 but they recently lost my custom….
Earlier this year, I took the plunge and bought myself a 2017 Nissan Leaf, an investment to reduce my monthly outgoings and eliminate the considerable pollution I was adding to the local environment with my aging, gas-guzzling Saab 9-3. The Leaf is nippy on my local commutes and is as cheap as chips to run – with one home-charge costing around £4. But when it came to getting a major service and MOT last month I took the car to my nearest dealership, not something I have done before, as my trusted workshop down the road had not yet undertaken any hybrid or EV training but they have now rectified this!
As an LKQ Euro Car Parts customer, they tend to use its Auto Education Academy platform for their training, now relaunched as LKQ Academy, and a recent cancellation meant that the team could get booked in for an ‘IMI Level 2 Award in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Routine Maintenance Activities’ at short notice. So, I wrapped up warm and joined MY technicians Hassan Khreibani, Adam Tebbutt and Andrew Rowley at the local workshop for the on-site training. Pro-Moto Trainer Rob Usherwood delivered the day’s training on behalf of LKQ Academy, using his Toyota Prius, and my Nissan Leaf for comparison, during the practical tasks.
7 steps to make a hybrid or electric vehicle safe to work on:
The content of the IMI Level 2 Award qualification has been designed to give technicians the knowledge and skills required to work safely on Electric/Hybrid vehicles whilst carrying out routine maintenance and repair activities. The Level 3 and 4 Award that follow equip you with the know-how to diagnose and repair the high voltage components and systems themselves. For the morning’s theory session, Rob detailed the terminology, types of Hybrid & EV vehicle layouts and the arrangement of high voltage systems before we headed over to the Prius to identify the various components and considerations when performing maintenance tasks. Understandably, we then spent much of the time going through the 7-step safety precautions and procedures, with each technician performing the practical task of shutting the car down, proving it is safe and re-instating. A technical write- up on this process was performed as part of their assessment. Rob then provided details of the first aid required for the various potential hazards and gave an overview of Auto-Stop Systems and the construction and function of Hybrid/EV systems.
The final part of the afternoon session saw the technicians complete an online assessment, to ensure they had learnt the essential steps to ensure safe working around these high voltage systems. I am happy to say all three technicians passed with flying colours and are eager to complete the next levels of accreditation.
Thank you to LKQ Academy for supplying the training, Rob Usherwood and Pro-Moto for the perfect delivery, and to the fantastic team at MY Motoring for their eagerness to keep up with technology.
Investing in becoming Hybrid & EV ready…
There is a perception that becoming electric vehicle and hybrid-ready is a big financial commitment, but LKQ Euro Car Parts says that training and equipping your garage can cost less than you think and because specialist hybrid and EV servicing commands a high labour rate, a return on this investment can be realised quickly.
Approximately 6% of technicians in the UK are currently trained to support a market of more than 750,000 hybrid and pure EVs, so there’s a real opportunity for technicians who upskill now to set themselves apart from the competition. Hybrids are already fairly common in the independent aftermarket, with many in their fourth and fifth years of ownership. And EVs won’t be far behind.
Signing up for the LKQ Academy is free, and annual memberships start from £549 + VAT. With more than 30 locations in the UK and Ireland, LKQ Academy offers Level 2,3 and 4 hybrid & EV repair training courses, all backed by the IMI’s “Tech Safe” scheme.
The Level 2 course is the most popular, and covers routine maintenance activities and terminology, while providing technicians with a thorough understanding of the construction and function of hybrid-electric systems and outlining key safety considerations for working with high-voltage operations and components.
Level 3 builds on this to cover system repair and replacement, as well as more advanced electrical regeneration, rectification, and regulation skills. And for those that want to continue their training, the Level 4 course extends further into diagnostics, testing and advanced repairs.
The 2022 course schedule is open for bookings at www. lkqacademy.co.uk. Membership fees can be paid as a one off or as a 12-month direct debit. For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org.