All Tests On Deck

An EV case study from a trusted industry member

Finally. An EV case study from a trusted industry member comes to us from All-Test Pro, the Old Saybrook, Conn., motor testing outfit that’s been around since 1983.

As we’ve discussed at length in recent years, the growth of the electric vehicle market doesn’t always come with easy links to the electromechanical service industry….despite electric motors being one of the primary pieces of equipment for both.

The study echoes that in its first paragraph. “Normal issues that everyone focuses on is batteries but when it comes to the motors, there is a large gap in assessment and skill level required to diagnose electrical motors.”

To gain insight, All-Test brought in Dr. Mark Quarto, whose small business does consulting and engineering for vehicle electrification technologies. Quarto tells us something we’ve heard quite often while canvassing for interviews on EVs at trade shows and shops:

“When I’ve had conversations with many automotive technicians and instructors over the years, most will quickly admit that they have minimal experience in knowing how to test, analyze, and diagnose EM systems. Although technicians are well versed in the diagnostic methodologies for traditional automotive powertrains, their experiences are a road less traveled in the electric powertrain space.”

When it comes to testing, All-Test Pro steps back in on this case study to explain some of the specifics. Their study found that the used and second owner EV market continues to elevate concerns about how technicians will confidently analyze and diagnose electric powertrain systems. Drive motor and generator (Electric Machines – EM) diagnostics and State-of-Health (SOH) analysis has moved center stage in automotive diagnostics and analysis. Automotive technicians have voiced a high level of interest in learning state-of-the-art analysis and diagnostic processes to aid in determining the SOH of an EM.

Furthermore, the study considers the effects of aging vehicles, something that hasn’t been highlighted enough when it comes to maintenance. As electrified vehicles continue to age in the market, first owners of aged vehicles, secondary owners, and fleets are now asking the question “what is the condition of the drive motor and generator (stator and rotor) when determining the SOH of a vehicle?” Field technicians desire a method to diagnostic when targeting an electric powertrain failure condition. Specifically, OEM vehicle on-board diagnostics may not provide comprehensive analysis necessary for determining the health of an aged EM nor provide clarity of issues within the EM or its Power Inverter Module (PIM) system. Since the cost of an EM or PIM system can result in thousands of repair dollars, identifying and determining the root cause of the problem is essential.

“Labor time required to identify the root cause of a problem can be excessively time consuming adding more cost to the actual repair,” says Quarto, “If the systems are misdiagnosed, the part and labor costs escalate significantly. The aftermarket nor the OEMs have embedded EM SOH as part of a formal service testing process, as compared to the traditional gas engine (ICE or internal combustion engine).”

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