Mitchell parent company Enlyte encourages repairers and insurers to prepare for rising number of electric vehicles – Repairer Driven News | CarTailz

As electric vehicles (EVs) become a larger segment of North American vehicle fleets, repair shops and the auto insurance industry should prepare for challenges that include the introduction of complex electronic systems, differences in vehicle design and safety implications, Mitchell says parent company Enlyte in its latest annual trend report 2022.

The report notes that in the first quarter of 2022, sales volume of new models of mild hybrids (MHEVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and full-battery electric vehicles (BEVs) increased by almost 75,000 units, while the new vehicle market recorded a 15% decrease.

The record pace continued in the second quarter, with nearly 200,000 electric vehicles sold, up 66% year over year, the report said.

Enlyte notes that as EV sales have increased, so has their share of repairable claims. Between pre-COVID 2019 and 2022, the rate of fixable estimates nearly doubled, increasing from 0.41% of all estimates created to 0.74%.

Mild hybrids (MHEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) have also continued to grow, from a combined 2.29% in 2019 to 2.58% in 2022, based on Mitchell estimate data.

Based on data from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), the report breaks down EV sales by region and finds that the western United States continues to grow in both EV adoption and EV adoption as a percentage of repairable damage frequency is leading.

However, some areas, such as the mountainous regions and the eastern regions, are seeing a faster increase in BEV frequency. “This suggests that the trend is expanding across the country, especially as charging infrastructure becomes more widespread,” the report said.

In Canada, EV adoption has “increased tremendously,” NADA figures show, with the province of Quebec seeing both the highest frequency and fastest increase. There, the share of electric vehicles in repairable damage increased from 0.93% in 2019 to 2.44% in 2022.

Electric vehicle adoption has been driven by rising fuel costs, greater choice of models and manufacturers, and a desire for greener transportation options, the report said. State and federal initiatives are also playing a role, such as California’s plans to ban gas-powered cars by 2035 (now followed by New York) and the US government’s investment in EV charging networks. In Canada, the report adds, the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) is having a similar impact.

Reducing the cost of producing lithium-ion batteries will help bring electric vehicles to price parity with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, Enlyte says. Despite global supply chain disruptions and the Russian invasion of Ukraine pushing up the cost of battery production for the first time in a decade, electric vehicle sales continue to accelerate, the report said.

The CEOs of General Motors and Volvo recently forecast that their electric vehicles will reach price parity with ICE vehicles by 2025.

Enlyte notes that Bloomberg New Energy Finance and other sources forecast that electric vehicles will account for 3% of all vehicles on US roads by 2025 and nearly 8% by 2030. For comparison, the report notes that Jeep vehicles account for about 3% of all repairable damage and Honda vehicles for about 8%, according to Mitchell.

Based on the Canadian government’s projected sales targets, the report adds, Price Waterhouse Coopers predicts that Canada’s auto inventory will also be 3% electrified by 2025, and that the number will rise to “a staggering 11%” by 2030.

fix challenges

The report underscores Mitchell’s earlier findings that electric vehicles are far more complex to repair than their ICE counterparts, posing new challenges for body shops and insurers.

One example is the relative lack of alternatives to OEM EV parts, which “results in greater reliance on automotive recyclers for alternative parts.” Another reason is the increased reliance on lightweight materials in EV construction as manufacturers work to balance the weight of the high-voltage battery pack. Lightweight materials such as aluminum, carbon fiber and composites offer fewer repair opportunities than mild steel, the report said.

Vehicle complexity affects safety, according to Enlyte. Scan results from Mitchell Diagnostics show almost twice the number of trouble codes for BEVs compared to ICE vehicles, as well as a jump in the number of trouble codes per vehicle. According to the report, 2017 and later model year vehicles had a 95 percent increase in trouble codes per scan, versus a 23 percent increase for all same model year vehicles.

EVs’ high-voltage battery packs pose a significant hazard to repair shops, which are a significant contributor to the 12 additional repair lines per estimate compared to internal combustion engines, Enlyte said.

The “corrosive and potentially explosive high-voltage battery pack” must be properly handled during repairs to protect workers, the report said, with extra precautions required once the vehicle arrives at the workshop. It notes that I-CAR has dedicated an entire section of its website to electric vehicle repairs and has made available a range of training materials and resources to support repair professionals.

Also, because many OEMs set maximum battery temperatures for their vehicles, the pack often must be removed from the vehicle and securely isolated before the vehicle is subjected to a paint booth bake cycle, the report says.

“As EV adoption continues to increase, auto insurers and collision repair professionals need to prepare,” the report advises. “This preparation should include the right tools, training and an understanding of how EVs impact claims processes and costs. It should also include an assessment of the technology solutions used to support collision damage estimation.”

Differences in powertrain and parts between EVs and ICEs “can affect the accuracy of the estimate, the efficiency of the appraiser, and even the proper repair — particularly when EV-specific parts and categories are substituted with ICE alternatives,” the report states. “To account for these differences, rating solutions should be tailored to EVs by adding EV types, part categories, data organization, and standard definitions for battery capacity and motor size. Features like these can help streamline the assessment process and get the growing number of EVs – and their owners – safely and cost-effectively back on the road after a collision.”

Mitchell announced earlier this year that it would release enhancements to its Cloud Estimating platform that can simplify the collision damage assessment process for EVs and address the design differences between EVs and internal combustion engines.


Featured image: The charging port of a 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV 3LT. (Provided by Chevrolet)

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