Because the heat damage a battery pack in a paint booth can suffer, electric automakers advise against sending your car to a repair center unfamiliar with electric cars.
For example, in the 2011 Nissan Leaf manual, it clearly states that:
“In the event of an accident that requires body repair and painting, the vehicle should be delivered to a knowledgable Leaf repairer such as a Nissan certified EV dealer to have the Li-ion battery and high voltage parts such as the inverter, including the wiring harness, removed prior to painting. Li-ion battery packs exposed to heat in the paint booth will experience capacity loss. Damaged Li-ion battery packs may also pose safety risks to untrained mechanics and repair personnel.”
Worse still, if you do have your car repaired by a non electric-car specialist who paints the car with the battery pack in situ and damages it, your automaker may quibble if your car suffers subsequent premature battery capacity loss.
What YOU MUST do
- After an accident, it can be easy under duress from your insurance company to agree to have your damaged car repaired at one of its specialist repair centers.
- But before your car heads to the repair shop, make sure you make your insurance company aware of any stipulations about battery care and accident repair outlined in your car’s owners’ manual and warranty booklets.
- Ask your insurance company to certify that the repairer it wishes to use has both the relevant equipment and fully-trained staff to handle electric car repairs.
- If there are any queries about battery care, remind your insurance company that your electric car battery pack is very expensive to replace, and that it will be liable for any damage to the battery pack sustained during repair at an unauthorized electric car specialist.
- Talk to other local owners with the same car, and find out if they’ve had repair work done locally.
- If possible, keep your car and obtain a quote from your local dealer, who will have all the relevant equipment and trained staff to handle electric car accident repairs.
- Remember that in most states, as the owner of the car you have a right to choose where it is repaired.
- Finally, make notes of who you speak to, when, and what is said, along with any communications received pertaining to the repair work These can be used, if needed, in any post-repair disputes.
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