Waterloo auto repair shops prepare for gas vehicles to be phased out

It may be more than a decade away, but Canada’s automotive industry is preparing for the federal government’s move to phase out the sale of gas vehicles.

With more electric models set to hit the streets, auto repair shops in Waterloo, Ont. are trying to stay ahead of the curve.

As the name suggests, German Autotech Inc. specializes in German vehicles powered by gas and diesel. But the plan to wind down gas vehicles by 2035 has put a bit of a wrench in how they operate.

“There is a concern there,” said shop owner Mike Kedmenecz.

His team of mechanics are anticipating an eventual dip in popular services.

“There’s going to be less of the fluid changes. Certainly you’re not going to have your annual oil change anymore,” Kedmenecz said.

Although repairs will still very much be a part of his business.

“It’s going to be an industry where we’re still going to have a lot of wear and tear components. Electric cars are going to be placed on heavier weigh scales.”

But as an independent shop, Kedmenecz said he’ll be a few years behind dealerships and corporate affiliates when it comes to the latest electric vehicle training and equipment.

Up the road at Columbia Auto Service, it’s pedal to the metal preparing for the EV wave. They operate under the National Auto Parts Association (NAPA) umbrella, which has given them a head start.

“We have sent a technician that has been gone for the last two months and is currently away now for specialized electrical vehicle and hybrid training,” said manager Mathew Gallagher.

Safety is something that will be top of mind as more EVs come into their shop.

“Distance around that vehicle in the case of things like [electric] arcing, jumping, current flow,” Gallagher explained.

Mechanics will also have to update their tool belts both figuratively and literally.

“We will have to purchase extended software, plug-in abilities, even the test equipment – electrical testing equipment is just going to be next level. So it all has to be additionally purchased on top of what we already have, which we are talking in tens of thousands [of dollars],” said Gallagher.

While it may be daunting, shops are preparing for the sizeable shift ahead and are determined to continue down the road of repairs, even if that road may be a rocky one.