Over the past decade, we have seen a whirlwind of technological advances that have changed our lives. Vehicle technology and the equipment required for maintaining and repairing it have been just the tip of the iceberg.
This past Father’s Day, my twin sons gave me an Amazon Echo smart speaker, and I must admit that I was blown away by what “Alexa” can do. She can provide music of your choice just by asking, including a specific song and artist or the genre of music you seek. She can provide other services too, like reminding you to do certain things at a specific time on a specific day – such as taking your vitamins – or monthly, such as changing your air conditioner’s filter. Being “old school,” as my sons like to call me, I find myself saying “please” and “thank you” to Alexa for her assistance as if she were a real person on the other end of the line.
As I understand it, Alexa is a device that records your voice and sends it over the internet/cloud to Amazon’s Alexa Voice Services (AVS), which translates the recording into language and commands it understands. Then, the system sends a response back to your device. Furthermore, it records, schedules and responds to your questions and requests when you would like it to. The fact that this technology exists still blows me away. Of course, there are concerns about “Big Brother” having access to private and personal information while listening in on your casual conversations.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has just started to become a reality and will continue to evolve and have an increasing impact on our daily lives, including self-driving cars and trucks.
Another technological innovation that is already here, albeit in its infancy stage, is the electric vehicle (EV). Repairers have become somewhat familiar with hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs), which are the precursor to fully battery-operated electric vehicles. The unstoppable shift to battery-operated EVs is right around the virtual corner.
Major automakers are launching a range of light- to heavy-duty EV models and have made bold promises to transition away from fossil fuels. There are several manufacturers currently offering EVs including, Audi; BMW; Chevrolet; Ford; GM; Jaguar; Hyundai; Kia; MINI; Nissan; Porsche; Polestar; Tesla; Volvo; and Volkswagen. Numerous others are expected in the next five years, including Aspark, Lucid, Fisker, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai. For example, Volvo recently announced that it will be phasing out any car in its global portfolio with a combustion engine by 2030. GM announced in January that it intends to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035.
The electric vehicle is here and will continue to advance and grow in use, while one day. in the not-too-distant future, the gasoline-operated engine will be destined for museums and private collections following the way of the steam engine.
So…the question is, is your shop ready for the EV revolution?
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For more on this topic, listen to this episode of The Amped EV Podcast, featuring Bodyshop Business Editor Jason Stahl.