The impact of EVs on windscreen repair and replacement

Simon Hunt, commercial and service director, spoke with Modern Insurance Magazine about the influence of electric vehicles (EVs) on the market, the effects on the technicians and the customer.

How is the proliferation of electric vehicles (EVs) impacting the aftermarket glazing market?

With over a million sold in the UK since 2002; EVs are having a significant impact on the aftermarket glass repair and replacement industry. We have been investing heavily over the last five years to ensure our infrastructure is optimised for the specialist requirements of EVs. With the introduction of new automotive technology showing no sign of slowing down, we believe it will continue to be a major focus of our investment.  

Larger fitting and calibration centres that allow more vehicles to be worked on requires an increased length of time now often required to complete work on these highly complex vehicles. On average, EVs are 25% more expensive to repair in comparison with petrol and diesel vehicles. New working practices are required for high voltage equipment and our technology must be continually updated to ensure vehicle safety systems work as intended after glass replacement.

EVs have had a big impact on automotive glazing

How does the increasing number of EVs on UK roads impact the repair and replacement process for the National Windscreens technicians?

Almost all EVs possess ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) which adds to the safety considerations, and the time taken to repair or replace the damaged glass. The added complexities associated with working with batteries has brought extra challenges. The technicians ensure the car is safe to work on by the identifying and isolate the high voltage systems before repairing or replacing the glass.

This extended training on working practices, safety and new technology is a core part of our technician’s role. Teaching trainee technicians about electrical awareness, the different sensors mounted on windscreens or connected to body glass are now pre-requisites for the job.

The recalibration of the ADAS technology is critical to car safety systems and is always required after windscreen replacement to ensure that the integrity of the vehicle is maintained. Ensuring all systems affected by the repair or replacement are checked and calibrated adds time to the service but is absolutely crucial for safety.

What does the proliferation of EVs mean for the customer journey at National Windscreens?

The main impact on policyholders is the extra time required to undertake the glass replacement in most cases. Most vehicles need to have their ADAS systems calibrated in fitting centre conditions due to a need for a static environment. The technicians identify and isolate the high voltage systems to ensure the car is safe to work on, then ensuring all safety systems affected by replacement are checked and calibrated all takes extra time.

Recognising the extra time that will often be required at our workshops, we have invested heavily in providing a stellar experience for our customers. Comfortable seating with Wi-Fi, desks, coffee and EV charging are all part of the service we look to provide.

We will continue to inform all our stakeholders about the benefits and challenges presented by EVs, ensuring clear understanding of why so many changes to established practice are necessary and the benefits they deliver. We are doing this in conjunction with our globally respected partners from across the automotive industry, as we strive to deliver the best possible experience for EV drivers.