In the automotive sector, the landscape is changing. Pressure from consumers and government legislation has driven manufacturers to search for a solution to high Carbon Monoxide emissions – resulting in a growing electric car industry.
The electric vehicle market grew 19% in 2018 with almost 60,000 new EVs being registered, plus over 130,000 Hybrids. So far in 2019, over 70% more electric cars have been sold compared to the same Jan-July period last year.
This significant growth is despite overall car sales declining by 3.5% in the same period. Investment in this sector is essential throughout the automotive industry – not least in vehicle recycling.
EVs & Hybrids: What’s the difference when handling salvage?
A voltage peak of up to 1000 volts is possible from an EV – the risk of a fatal electric shock is real. This danger may not disappear when the vehicle is isolated and may even be passed through another conductor, such as a vehicle transporter.
Despite the dangers, there are currently no laws governing the handling of EVs. To protect employee safety and reputation, it’s vital that industry leaders do the groundwork.
Are you electrically informed?
SYNETIQ now has more qualified EV technicians than anyone in the vehicle recycling industry. Over 20 employees are now qualified as Electrically Informed Persons (EIPs) after completing a recognised training course with ZF Technical Training.
The High Voltage EIP course is a combination of presentation, discussion and hands-on tutorial. Through education of connections and cycles, and the consequences of exposure to electrical hazards, our colleagues have learned to recognise and avoid risks.
Several employees have also now completed ZFs High Voltage Expert (HVE) qualification. After completing three modules, practical work and an exam, they’re qualified to make EV and Hybrid vehicles safe before our Electrically Informed Persons can begin the recycling process.
SYNETIQ has made further significant investments in cutting-edge technology too. Trained colleagues are protected by insulated tools, rubber vehicle transporter mats, insulated shoes and bespoke insulated gloves (capable of withstanding up to 1000kW).
In partnership with Cardno, SYNETIQ have developed a bespoke winch hook attachment, which stops electric current from being passed via a truck winch cable. The final system is expected to be signed off and in use by Summer 2019.
Spot the difference
Some Lithium batteries appear similar to conventional Lead batteries – until they’re put through the same recycling process. Risk of fire is another factor all vehicle recyclers must manage.
SYNETIQ manages this through clear markings on different battery types, avoiding batteries being recycled incorrectly. A designated storage area for EVs and Hybrids also offers an additional level of control, containing the risk and improving ease of identification.
New firefighting equipment is on the horizon too. SYNETIQ is working with The Goodwin Group on the design and production of new fire extinguishers, more capable of extinguishing Lithium-ion fires.
The future of vehicle technology may be an unknown quantity, but by investing in training and technology we can protect the safety of our employees and the future of our industry.
To find out more about SYNETIQ visit www.synetiq.co.uk