Volkswagen has trained 30 technicians to work at the highest level of electric vehicle battery technology within its retail network.
The technicians, known as high voltage experts (HVEs), are the first Volkswagen Group employees to hold the qualification in the UK, and are permitted to work on the decommissioning, repair and re-commissioning of battery packs.
Volkswagen currently has two all-electric (BEV) vehicles in the UK: the e-up and the e-Golf but a new generation of electric cars, based on the Volkswagen Group’s bespoke MEB platform, will be introduced from 2020, starting with the ID. compact car.
The new high voltage expert qualification gives Volkswagen three tiers of expertise in the field of electric vehicle aftercare. HVEs will work alongside the brand’s existing high voltage technicians (HVTs) and electrically instructed persons (EIP) who already operate across the network and are qualified to work on the brand’s existing hybrid and fully electric vehicles.
Due to the high voltages involved in car battery packs, Volkswagen HVE technicians need to learn a number of new processes. Not only do these ensure safety at all times for themselves and other technicians, they also cover a number of tasks unique to electric powertrains. For example, some tasks are so intricate that Volkswagen requires two HVE technicians to carry out the work at the same time. This ensures that all work is double-checked as it is completed.
The technicians will use the brand’s RealWear technology, which connects them directly with the Technical Support Centre in Milton Keynes. The technology includes a microphone, head camera, display screen and voice activation functionality that provides a fully augmented video broadcast. This virtual assistance provides an additional level of support to technicians and can allow even quicker diagnosis and repair where needed.
The newly qualified HVEs will be based at 15 Volkswagen Battery Competence Centres being established in existing Volkswagen retailers around the UK. These new centres will feature additional tooling and designated areas devoted to the maintenance of electric vehicle battery systems.
Commenting on the introduction of the first HVE technicians Matthew Barham, service development manager for Volkswagen UK, said: “We are extremely proud to deploy these highly-trained technicians into our retailer network. There’s a real feeling of excitement throughout the network as our ambitions for electrification ramp up.”