Courtesy of ZF

ZF Takes One Small Step For Electric Cars

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Something happened in the world of electric cars today that went almost unnoticed. ZF, the German Tier One automotive supplier, announced it now has 43 specialized repair kits for electric cars that are available to independent repair shops. Up until this point, if your EV needed a drivetrain repair, you had to take it to a dealer to get it fixed. ZF says with its bespoke kits, all repairs can be performed without removing the electric drive unit from the car.

“None of this work requires the electric motor or the electric axle drive to be removed. However, workshops must ensure that only people with high-voltage training carry out the relevant work. In order to de-energise the vehicles for repair, training level 2S in accordance with DGUV 209-093 is required,” the company explains. But wait. There’s no reason why that should be a barrier to independent shops performing repairs. ZF also offers a corresponding training program through its ZF Aftermarket division.  ZF has thought of everything because they obviously want to sell these kits and can’t do so if repair people are not properly trained.

ZF Prepares For The Future

ZF Aftermarket says the first of the 43 different repair kits are now available. With the new repair kits, independent workshops will have access to specific spare parts for electric axle drives that they didn’t have before. The company knows electric motors, having supplied more than two million of them to the automotive industry so far. It is currently working on a compact, high torque motor for electric cars.

“Electric motors are considered to be particularly low wear and have only a few moving parts compared to combustion engines. However, it would be wrong to deduce from this that electric cars will not require any repairs to their drive systems. After years of use, damage to components can also occur here — whether due to dirt or corrosion of contact points, loss of sealing, animal bites, or accidents.

“Often, it is not the central components like the electric motor or power electronics that are affected, but only peripheral parts such as sensors, plugs, housings, or cables. Until now, spare parts were only available from the car manufacturer because most electric cars were still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. However, this is changing as vehicles get older,” ZF says,

Catering To Independent Repair Shops

Independent workshops are increasingly dealing with repairs of electric cars and need the appropriate spare parts to do so. As one of the leading producers of electric drives worldwide, ZF is now making its products available to the independent aftermarket for the first time via its aftermarket division. These are initially specially compiled kits for a total of 43 repair scenarios on electric axle drives. With the new kits, workshops can carry out the following repairs, for example:

  • Replace leaking coolant connections
  • Repair defective parking locks
  • Replace engine mounts (e.g. after an accident)
  • Change speed or temperature sensors
  • Replace drive shafts

The kits contain all the spare parts, fastening elements and tools required for the respective repair. The necessary training course for repair personnel is available from ZF Aftermarket in addition to many other industry groups.

The 43 Electric Axle Drive Repair Kits from ZF Aftermarket are already available to order and will be presented to the public for the first time at Automechanika Shanghai, which takes place at the first weekend in December. The exact contents of the individual repair kits and all vehicle models for which they are available can be viewed in the ZF Aftermarket Online Product Catalog or in this brochure. ZF Aftermarket has planned further repair kits for various vehicle manufacturers in the future.

The Takeaway

This announcement is proof the EV revolution is moving forward. If there are enough electric cars on the road to get ZF to assemble a selection of repair kits, then we are well on the way to a full transition to electrified transportation. One wonders if any of the ZF kits would solve the very rare but extremely costly repair required when a Tesla battery drain fitting gets damaged by debris on the highway as happened to one Tesla owner in 2021. Or whether any of them might have helped our own Fritz Hasler with any of the repair issues for his Model 3.

Aftermarket repairs are big business. They sustain thousands of local repair shops as well as national chains such as Pep Boys and Midas. Having access to specific repair kits will help them stay in business as people transition away from cars that need oil changes and transmission repairs. It’s a whole new world out there and ZF wants to be ready for it.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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