Electrification in the aftermarket: challenges and chances

No one knows exactly what the auto world will be like twenty years from now. What we do know, though, is that over the coming years conventional internal combustion engines will be joined by such bridging technologies as hybrid drives or electric vehicles with range extenders. For the repair shops, this means even now a need to become familiar with the new technologies, while parts suppliers will have to work that more closely with the development engineers.

 

CWA950 electric coolant pump for 48-volt systems

CWP 35 electric coolant pump

Electric vacuum pump

All-electric EGR cooler bypass module

In recent years, developments in engine design have been moving in a direction whereby until now purely mechanical products are increasingly becoming electric. This is true, for example, of hybrid or electric vehicles, which are often fitted with on-demand auxiliary equipment that delivers only as and when required. Another advantage is that electric pumps need no belts or chains to drive them. Included among such varieties are the electric coolant pumps that only start working when temperatures need to be lower to avoid overheating of the main unit. 

Another example are electric oil pumps that maintain engine pressure during start-stop operation or can be used for selective control of transmission oil flow. Vacuum pumps are essential on battery-powered vehicles. With the absence of an internal combustion engine there is nothing to create the vacuum needed for brake boosting. On such vehicles this function is handled by an electric vacuum pump. Moreover, many modern vehicle systems are only diagnosable with the aid of electric secondary air valves and electric exhaust-gas flaps.

New challenges for the workshop
In terms of practical everyday routine, the maintenanceand repair of these new electrical components represent something of a challenge. "It will no longer simply be a matter of identifying problems and replacing the components. Many of the vehicle's systems communicate with each other and are increasingly intertwined. One consequence is that the diagnosis of a problem gets to be more extensive. Even now, after a part has been replaced, its successor has to learn to interact with the engine controller," explains Tobias Kasperlik,Chairman of the Management Team at the Aftermarket division and CEO of MS Motorservice International GmbH. "For us as parts supplier, it means that we must work more closely with the development teams of our parent company and its Hardparts and Mechatronics divisions." Motorservice provides customers with its broad-based expertise. Operating as the Aftermarket division within the KSPG parent company (previously Kolbenschmidt Pierburg), Motorservice supplies a whole range of services, from detailed installation guides and practical tips printed in flyers and on posters to technical videos downloadable from the Internet. Only recently, a Motorservice app was introduced that enables access to distributor services and portfolios via smart phone. Specialized training courses and a hotline round off the line-up. 

Against a two-class society
In view of these new challenges and the constantly changing auto world, we have to prevent the emergence of a two-class society among the workshops. One that confines its attention to brakes and tires, another that is able to cope with the more complex challenges of a networked vehicle and its host of electrical components. Kasperlik adds: "With our extensive line-up of services and training courses, we are helping to make sure even now that everyone is best-prepared to meet these new challenges."

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