If you’re gearing up your shop to service the growing number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road, there may be a roadblock in your way you have yet to consider. Here’s the challenge: Most EVs are designed with large high-voltage battery packs centered beneath the vehicle that take up most of the undercarriage area. As a result, lifting points recommended by manufacturers are generally found at the edge of the frame or stamped into the body. Additionally, EVs tend to be heavier than internal-combustion-engine-powered vehicles.
Those issues point directly to the need for lifts designed with sufficient capacity and the ability to engage with EV lifting points. It is quite possible, in fact, that the lifts you’ve used for internal combustion engine vehicles will not allow your technicians to safely raise an EV.
Recommendations from GM, published as part of the GM Electric Model Participation Agreement, require participating dealers to have lifting equipment to be able to properly service electric vehicle models. GM requirements also call for a minimum 12,000-lb. capacity lift equipped with three-stage arms to properly lift EVs.
BendPak and Rotary Lift are two lift manufacturers that offer lifts specifically designed for EVs. BendPak, Inc. has re-engineered its two-post lifts to comply with the safety guidelines of proper EV service. The new BendPak AP Series, for example, features a low profile swing arm design that offers greater extension and retraction to reach lifting points. For extra strength, BendPak says it strategically increased the high-strength steel used in critical load-holding components. Rotary Lift’s new IG210W in-ground lift was designed specifically to service EVs, as it provides greater undercar access with low-profile arms and extra-wide piston spacing, and it has 85 in. of clearance between its two plungers to make it easier to remove EV batteries.
According to Underhood Service magazine's recently-published article on HV/EV Lifting Guidelines, lifting an EV isn't too difficult with the right equipment and guidance. A few of the top tips include:
- Most EVs have specific lift points and some require special blocks inserted into the lift points or pucks that slide over the pinch welds on the rockers.
- Lift points, which can vary depending on the manufacturer, can be found in service information and on OEM websites.
- The Automotive Lift Institute’s (ALI) Lifting Points Guide covers many popular EV lift points.
Of course, as Underhood Service also notes, not following the correct procedures or using the wrong equipment when lifting an EV could be catastrophic for your business: "The stakes are higher for EVs because if a lift is not correctly placed, it could damage an expensive battery pack or create a fire hazard if a battery is impacted. While most EV repair opportunities requiring a lift are for tires, brakes and suspension, if you can’t lift an electric vehicle without damaging the underside, you will not be able to take advantage of service opportunities in this growing segment."