The Importance of Training in the Transition to Zero-Emissions Transportation

July 18, 2022

Commercial transportation is well on its way to zero-emissions vehicles, and the changes are happening quickly. An increased number of fleets in market segments such as urban delivery and regional haul are beginning to place orders or are already utilizing electric vehicles as part of their operations. Meanwhile, EV manufacturers are moving to larger-scale production, and we’re beginning to see more regular occurrences of these vehicles on our roads. With this shift comes a host of new considerations, maintenance being one of them. With fewer moving parts, it’s anticipated that EVs will require less maintenance. However, understanding EV maintenance requirements will be quite different from the practiced technician’s current knowledge on conventional drivetrain maintenance.

An important step in the successful transition to commercial vehicle sustainability includes fully educating service professionals on new maintenance protocols, including new diagnostics and the necessary tools to keep EVs serviced and maintained for maximum uptime. While a portion of EV maintenance will revolve around familiar conventional componentry (e.g., steer axles, wheels, tires, etc.), technicians must be prepared to handle high-voltage e-Powertrains and ancillary systems that will no longer be mechanically driven. Most importantly, safety precautions and emergency procedures should be a principal tenet of any EV training program to protect technicians from additional safety hazards posed by high-voltage cables and batteries.

New Technology, New Procedures

Ensuring technicians have access to the essential training needed as fleets increase the number of EVs in use across the country is of critical importance to e-Propulsion suppliers like Dana. Demonstrating this belief is the recent introduction of the company’s new EV-focused training videos that are part of its Driveline Forensics program, a technician training series dedicated to preparing today’s technicians to service and maintain evolving vehicle and component technologies.

The new videos, hosted by multi-media personality and skilled vehicle technician, Cristy Lee, provide vital information on the care and servicing of EVs, including key safety and maintenance tips, an overview of electric vehicle charging, as well as safe battery handling and what to do if servicing an EV that’s been in an accident. An overview of the video content is outlined below and the videos can be found on Dana’s YouTube channel or on the company’s training page.

  • Safety and Light Vehicle/Heavy Vehicle Master Series Disconnect
    • Personal protection equipment (PPE) and precautionaries
    • Required tools
    • Safety reminders
    • Disabling batteries
  • Vehicle Charging
    • AC/DC charging
    • Battery charging
    • Helpful facts about alert lights and sounds
  • Battery Handling, Removal, Shipping and Storage
    • Electricity definitions
    • Battery types
    • Electrical, thermal, and chemical exposure; mass risk
    • Proper disconnect
    • Battery shipping/storage
  • Maintenance Schedule
    • Review of high-voltage lithium-ion vehicle batteries
    • Checklists: daily, 25K miles, 50K miles, 100K miles
  • Accident and Submergence
    • Special safety measures
    • Securing battery zero-energy state
    • Identifying component damage
    • Submergence precautionairies
    • Microbubbling safety reminders

Dana also recognizes that fleets and vehicle OEs may require more personal, hands-on EV training, hence the launch of its Sustainable Mobility Center (SMC) located on its world headquarters campus in Maumee, Ohio, United States. The SMC serves as an electrification technology center where Dana engineers and production teams work together to develop fully integrated e-Propulsion and e-Power systems while developing safety and maintenance materials to support their customers’ electrified products.  The vehicle integration area offers a dynamic customer experience providing specialized equipment and expert Dana staff to accommodate bespoke education programs designed around a specific fleet and/or OE’s EV training needs.

As fleet adoption of electrified technologies progresses, Dana will continue to support the maintenance professionals who are servicing these vehicles in the field with the most up-to-date and comprehensive training materials available.