The HVIA-Lite Project is looking into the additional skills and knowledge body builders may require when working with and modifying electric trucks.
The project’s driving committee has been collaborating with key national training organisations to determine skills and training priorities.
While truck manufacturers have been working closely with select local companies on the fitment of aftermarket bodies, tail lifts and other equipment, Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) says it won’t be a niche market for long.
HVIA’s Greg Forbes said it’s clear that body builders need to be educated on how to safely modify electric vehicles without compromising the complex systems that power the vehicles.
“A significant proportion of heavy vehicles in Australia are customised to meet the specific requirements of the transport task they undertake,” Forbes said.
“In many cases this involves the fitment of aftermarket bodies and the fitment of cranes, tail lifts and other equipment that is powered by the truck.
“While truck manufacturers are currently taking on this role, it is clear that as the percentage of electric vehicles in the fleet increases, there is a need for a broader process for educating body builders.”
The HVIA-Lite Project driving committee’s discussions suggest that all body builders will need to undertake training to ensure they follow the correct procedures for:
- Deactivation of power and other systems prior to modifying a EV, to ensure the vehicle is safe to work on and to protect the systems from damage during the modifications.
- Modifying the vehicle safely including understanding the implications of welding, painting and other chemicals.
- Reactivating and potentially re-calibrating/ resetting/ updating systems at the conclusion of the modifications.
“In order to do this work the body builder is also likely to need access to vehicle specific information which will need to be provided by the manufacturer,” Forbes added.