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Mercedes sees rise in EV certification applications

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Collision Repair | Repair Operations
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Mercedes-Benz is seeing an increase in shops seeking to secure certification for its EQ series of electric vehicles (EVs), says its U.S. collision business development manager.

In a conversation with Repairer Driven News, Benito Cid detailed how there are currently 10 shops throughout the nation with EQ certification, and about another 65 have submitted applications to obtain the designation.

“Every time we launch a new model, we get more and more shops interested in coming on board,” Cid said. “Some shops haven’t signed the application yet but have started doing some of the training because it is available to them.”

Mercedes’ EQ-Certified Collision Program (MBEQCCP), which was rolled out last year, was designed to train shops on how to handle EVs. Obtaining the certification involves training, special tools and equipment to ensure repairers are prepared to safely handle batteries.

Shops must already be Mercedes Elite Certified to enroll in the MBEQCCP. They are also required to have a battery specialist on staff who has completed a total of 17 days of OEM training (although the training doesn’t happen all at once). 

No extra fee is charged to upgrade from an Elite certification to the EQ level because Mercedes wants to encourage more shops to upgrade their skills in order to meet the demand for EV repairs.

“For me, I didn’t think it was right or fair to charge them to be on the program, especially if they’ve already made the investment to be an Elite facility,” Cid said. “But [the shops do] have to make an investment in time and some additional equipment so they’re able to do that work.”

Extra equipment required includes the OEM’s Pass Through diagnostic software unit needed to read vehicle data. A table is also required so that repairers have somewhere to place the battery when it needs to be removed for repairs.

Other equipment needed to work on EVs is similar to the tools used to repair internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, he said, adding the vehicles are similar both from a component and repairability perspective.

“They still have to have lifts and all the things they normally have, they just have to make sure that it works for EVs because of where the battery is. You’re kind of limited on space on where you can grab the vehicle to lift it,” Cid said. “It’s just about making sure the equipment they have will work on an EV.”

Mercedes has five training centers throughout the U.S., and each hosts EQ training sessions at no cost to shops. Collision centers that are more than 320 miles away from the nearest OEM training hub can have the cost of their flight covered up to a certain amount by Mercedes.

Although 17 days of training is required to become a certified battery specialist, it doesn’t all happen during a single timeframe and some training can be completed online.

“The training is a significant piece,” Cid said. “The goal is to make sure that our technicians are as knowledgeable as possible on the vehicles that they’re working on to make sure that they can do the best repairs that they can.”

If a shop’s only EQ-certified battery specialist quits a shop, its certification is suspended until they can find a replacement. In the interim, they can work with Mercedes dealerships on EVs needing repairs, Cid said.

He noted that one way to prevent technicians and shop specialists from moving on to another business is by ensuring they are given the opportunity to grow in their role and continue learning as vehicles become more advanced.

“When you have a facility that keeps training as a priority and makes sure that they’re taking care of their people and keeping up to date, I think it’s easier to maintain people,” Cid said. “You want to help people better themselves by giving opportunities to be more knowledgeable and better at what they do. I think it’s easier to keep people that way. Not easy, but easier.” 


Featured image: 2024 Mercedes-Benz E-Class AMG Line/Courtesy of Mercedes

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