The Challenges of Certifying the Modern Technician
Industry trends, government regulation, and consumer preference will all have considerable impacts on the market growth of electric vehicles.
A full transition will take decades. The challenge for independent repair shops is how they rise to meet the changing vehicle design while maintaining the same level of service with a variety of makes and models.
Experts say that hybrids will remain as a crucial powertrain over the next few decades, which require many of the traditional quick maintenance work for the internal combustion component.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) appears to reflect that sentiment. While it has incorporated electric vehicle details in some testing material, it has also developed a dedicated hybrid course and is also working on an ADAS program.
Adapting the Materials
Trish Serratore, senior vice president of communications at ASE, says that the organization has already begun making changes to its test materials.
“We’re handling it in a couple ways,” she says of the changing automotive designs. “The most basic way is those electric vehicles and those hybrid vehicles have systems that are the same as a gas combustion car. So in every ASE test where it's appropriate, we have content or test questions that relate to electric vehicles.”
Around two years ago, ASE debuted its advanced level hybrid electric vehicle test, which was its first test specifically for those kinds of vehicles.
While some material has to address certain OEM systems, the goal for a generalized test is to be widely applicable. To achieve this in its test, Serratore says that ASE was able to bring together representatives from OEM and aftermarket sectors to create a “composite vehicle.”
“How do we make it better for the technicians? So they really came together and worked hard for about a year to get this composite vehicle together and the questions and task list to make sure that it would be a valid instrument that actually assesses the competency without having to dive into a particular OE.”
The composite vehicle is meant to be a blueprint for the most modern vehicle design that techs will encounter.
ADAS Test in Development
Of course, ADAS is a technology that’s becoming more and more common in late-model vehicles, and shops will only see them more and more in coming years.
Serratore says that this has been an area of focus at ASE.
“One system, aside from the hybrid electric that we did jump on in a big way, is the advanced driver-assist systems,” she says. “So we are right in the middle of creating a certification test for that particular area.”
Like the advanced hybrid test, ASE is developing a composite vehicle that can be used in testing materials that applies to as many makes and models as possible. With proprietary technology and different naming conventions, this is no easy task.
Serratore says that the ADAS materials will be finalized this year.
“We’ll probably be in the question development portion for 2021 and launch it in 2022,” she says.