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Electric vehicle repair: what are your options?

Sept. 15, 2022
5 mins
mechanic working on an ev

While electric vehicle technology is growing in popularity, electric vehicles (EVs) are still susceptible to breaking down and requiring repairs from time to time, especially if damaged in a collision.

But not all mechanics or technicians have been trained on how to diagnose and repair these types of vehicles.

So, what are your options for EV repair — now, and in the future? And how might the shortage of EV technicians in Canada impact your car insurance claim?

Lack of licensed EV technicians

Since EVs are becoming more popular on our roads, the few technicians who specialize in them are not always available for repair. And the demand for automotive technicians trained to work on EVs is growing quickly as more Canadians choose to go electric. This could mean you may have to take your vehicle back to the original dealership for it to be repaired by a trained EV technician. Could the dealership have more expensive rates compared to your regular service centre? Possibly, but it’s worth your while to determine the best place for a safe and comprehensive repair.

Many independent shops outside of dealerships don’t have access to the proper, updated training from EV manufacturers. It should also be noted that not all dealerships have specialized technicians available to repair EVs — even when it comes to models their brand sells.

EV technician training programs in Canada

One of the main issues stopping standard technicians from repairing EVs is being able to properly diagnose the problem. Once diagnostics are completed, most technicians have the training to complete the repair. However, many technicians lack the knowledge to find the root cause of a defect in an electric vehicle.

Fortunately, there are a few ways for technicians to update their skills. A number of maintenance programs are available across Canada in British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario. These programs allow vehicle technicians to upgrade their skills and learn how to properly and accurately service EVs. Some technicians have also elected to go to the United States to get this training, but with more maintenance programs becoming available across Canada, they may be able to do their training locally.

Will your car insurance policy cover higher EV repair costs?

Since many independent repair shops can’t service EVs, you may be required to go directly to the EV dealership for repairs, which may increase the cost of your insurance claim.

“Assuming that the damage is for an accident that is covered under the policy that the consumer purchased, typically, an insurance company will cover the costs in ensuring that a vehicle is repaired,” says Anne Marie Thomas, director of consumer and industry relations at the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

However, it’s best to have a conversation with your provider proactively, so you know what to expect when it’s time for an EV repair.

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Scott Marshall

Scott Marshall has spent over 30 years promoting road safety across Canada. He has seen many things from inside the vehicle while training new drivers, retraining licensed drivers, and training new driving instructors. Scott began writing road safety articles in 2005 for a community newspaper and has moved on to more publications from there.

In 2005, Scott was an on-air judge on the Discovery Network's Canada's Worst Driver program for its first three seasons. That gave Scott insight with regards to what makes bad drivers so bad. He was also the host of The National Driving Test internet webisodes.

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