Volkswagen is underlining its commitment to an electrified future with the news that 30 technicians have just completed an extensive training course to become the brand’s first High Voltage Experts (HVEs). In doing so, they have also become the first Volkswagen Group employees to hold the qualification in the UK and will be at the forefront of the electric revolution within the Volkswagen brand’s Retailer network.
Thirty technicians from around the UK have completed the two-week course, which was run at Volkswagen Group UK’s flagship National Learning Centre in Milton Keynes. Having successfully completed the course, all 30 Volkswagen HVE technicians are now qualified to work at the highest level of battery technology within the Retailer network. Only technicians with this qualification are permitted to work on the decommissioning, repair and re-commissioning of battery packs.
The new High Voltage Expert qualification gives Volkswagen three tiers of expertise in the field of electric vehicle aftercare. HVEs will work alongside the brand’s existing High Voltage Technicians (HVTs) and Electrically Instructed Persons (EIP) who already operate across the network and are qualified to work on the brand’s existing hybrid and fully electric vehicles.
Due to the high voltages involved in car battery packs, Volkswagen HVE technicians need to learn a number of new processes. Not only do these ensure safety at all times for themselves and other technicians, they also cover a number of tasks unique to electric powertrains. For example, some tasks are so intricate that Volkswagen requires two HVE technicians to carry out the work at the same time. This ensures that all work is double-checked as it is completed.
Further reinforcing Volkswagen’s passion for service perfection, technicians will use the brand’s advanced RealWear technology to ensure that even the most complex procedure can be completed effectively.
The system uses state-of-the-art RealWear glasses that connect the HVE technician directly with the Technical Support Centre in Milton Keynes. The technology includes a microphone, head camera, display screen and voice activation functionality that provides a fully augmented video broadcast. This virtual assistance provides an additional level of support to technicians and can allow even quicker diagnosis and repair where needed.
The newly qualified HVEs will be based at 15 Volkswagen Battery Competence Centres being established in existing Volkswagen Retailers around the UK. These new centres will feature additional tooling and designated areas devoted to the maintenance of electric vehicle battery systems.
Commenting on the introduction of the first HVE technicians Matthew Barham, Service Development Manager for Volkswagen UK, said: “We are extremely proud to deploy these highly-trained technicians into our Retailer network. There’s a real feeling of excitement throughout the network as our ambitions for electrification ramp up.
“Our Retailers have invested a significant amount of time into this process and are passionate about training technicians in this key growth area. Like us, they see it as the future and we are thrilled to be working with such a motivated and passionate team of now fully-qualified Volkswagen HVE technicians.”
Kevin Rendell, Head of Service & Parts Operations for Volkswagen UK added: “This is a highly skilled qualification and the Volkswagen Passenger Cars network is well on the way to leading in electric vehicle technology.”
Volkswagen currently offers two all-electric (BEV) vehicles in the UK: the e-up! and the e-Golf. A new generation of electric cars, based on the Volkswagen Group’s bespoke MEB platform, will be introduced from 2020 – starting with the ID. compact car.