Whilst it’s true that EVs do have less components than petrol or diesel commercial vehicles, they do have an even more essential need for specially trained technicians to carry out any recovery or repair work.
For anyone operating an electric commercial vehicle, it’s so important to remember that when it’s involved in an accident or breakdown, it shouldn’t be touched by anyone other than a fully trained EV repair specialist.
Let’s take a look at why this is, and what the best plan of action is to follow should you need assistance.
Too many hazards, not enough public knowledge
As highlighted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) there are significant risks involved when trying to safely recover an electric commercial vehicle, as they carry new and very different hazards to what’s normally associated with repairing vehicles or roadside recovery. These hazards include:
- High voltage components and cabling which, if tampered with by anyone other than an expert who knows what they’re doing, could cause a fatal electric shock.
- Storage of electrical energy which has potential to explode or catch fire.
- Some components potentially retaining a dangerous voltage even when a vehicle is switched off.
- Electric motors or the vehicle itself that may move unexpectedly due to magnetic forces within the motors.
- Manual handling risks associated with battery replacement.
- Potential for the release of explosive gases and harmful liquids if batteries are damaged.
Significant care must be always taken following an accident to ensure the battery can be safely removed, repaired or replaced. For example, if an electric commercial vehicle breaks down at roadside close-by other road users, or if an EV needs recovering from a ditch and access is compromised to removing the battery.
That’s why is so important that electric commercial vehicles are repaired by those with the correct training. Training that is absolutely essential to allow technicians to work safely with electric vehicles, let alone restore them back to operational use. Although, there’s a long way to go before the UK can safely say as a whole, that there enough fully trained EV technicians out there.
The Institute of Motor Industry (IMI), in fact, has called for a significant government investment of £15 million towards EV technician training, highlighting that the funding would play a critical role in building the much-needed skillset of 75,000 electric vehicle technicians.
Even the emergency services don’t currently have enough training on electric vehicles as it stands today, with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reporting that research, safety standards and manufacturer emergency response guides haven’t sufficiently addressed how to deal with EV fires. This leaves first responders at risk of severe electric shocks from attempting to fix high voltage wiring themselves, without the proper knowledge.
Taking care during an electric commercial vehicle recovery
Before a recovery process begins on-site, EVs should always be visually checked for signs of damage to high voltage electrical components or cabling, taking consideration into whether the battery is likely to have been damaged.
If the EV is damaged or faulty, and if it’s safe to do so, the high voltage battery system should be isolated, the remote operation key should be removed to a suitable distance and the standard 12/24v battery should be disconnected to prevent the vehicle from starting up.
Towing an EVs should also be avoided until it’s deemed completely safe to do so by a fully trained eV specialist, as dangerous voltages can be generated by wheel movements.
But, as always, in the event of any breakdown or accident which requires recovery, the first point of call should always be to call your rescue operator as a matter of urgency.
Knowing who to call when you’re stuck
At Egertons, our 55-year heritage has led us to be one of the UK’s leading vehicle rescue and recovery operators, and we’re proud to say that our team includes fully trained electric vehicle specialist technicians who are able to safely help in the recovery of your electric commercial vehicles.
This is because, for us, it’s so important to always invest back into our service, allowing us to grow our fleet and expert team to offer the best and safest service possible.
In fact, this service starts from the moment you first call us, as our sophisticated triage process allows us to deploy the exact right vehicles to a scene first time. This is supported by our 24-hour control room, and having invested in industry leading software, we can seamlessly track the progress of all our vehicles and allocate jobs straight to the recovery technicians.
Combine this process with our 300-strong fleet, vast range of equipment available on hand and the technology it is equipped with, you can rest assured you’re in the best of hands.
But we don’t stop there. We’re not just a vehicle recovery service, we’ll also help deliver your load, your driver and your vehicle to the most appropriate locations to get your day back on track as quickly as possible. Our experts can facilitate drop offs to separate locations, whether it’s the original planned destination, company depot or preferred workshop.
This is because we completely understand that every business and individual have different priorities surrounding their electric vehicles, and your instructions may be personal preference or business requirement.
In other words, you make the call, and we’ll do the rest.