Mechanics, dealerships prepare for car transition | News


Mechanics and auto dealerships are evaluating how car care may change during the transition from gas, to hybrid and eventually electric-powered vehicles.

Car care will likely change as different equipment will be needed to deal with maintenance of electric vehicles, but the transition will likely take a long time, mechanics and dealer representatives said.

“I have a charger in the back of the dealership,” said Todd Nassief, owner of Nassief Honda in Austinburg Township.

He said there are currently small amount of electric vehicles sold locally, but the numbers are likely to grow.

“Basically, the factories will dictate,” Nassief said, with manufacturers pushing the training to the local dealerships.

Todd Perry, manager of Perry’s Automotive in Ashtabula, said the change to a large amount of electric vehicles will take quite a while and will affect his business. He said he already does quite a bit of work on hybrids and some of that work will remain the same for electric vehicles.

He said the transition to working on electric vehicles would involve a large investment in new equipment.

“We wouldn’t work on the electric engines,” he said.

Perry said the electric vehicles will continue to be out of the price range of many area residents because new electric vehicles cost at least $60,000. While the price of gas may push some in that direction, it is still a lot more money for a car or truck than present gas-powered vehicles.

Greg Sweet Chevrolet General Manager Joe Zappitelli said there will be a lot of equipment change including where to store the batteries needed to run the vehicles.

Zappitelli said the dealership is gearing up for the changes that are likely in the works.

“We are prepared for the next step … it is probably two years away,” he said of a shift toward electric vehicles.

All salesmen and mechanics will have to go through training and become certified for selling and servicing electric vehicles. Zappitelli said the Bolt and the the Volt are already available from Chevrolet and the transition will likely pick up speed.

“The public perception has changed a lot. It will be increasingly popular,” he said.

Zappitelli sees some challenging issues coming for electric vehicles when they are sold. He said the lifespan of electric batteries will factor into the resale value of a vehicle.

“Blue Book, or whoever is doing it will have to figure out the life of the battery,” he said.

“It’s coming” said Steve Stewart, owner of Dusty and Steve’s in North Kingsville.

He said the changes are going to still take a long time.

Stewart said he does a lot of work on hybrid vehicles like oil changes, brakes and other universal tasks. He said mechanics will likely do the same with electric vehicles, but engine work and battery replacement may not be the focus of their work.

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