Paint repairs on electric vehicles continue to be challenging for automotive body shops and collision repair centers. Because of the powerful battery, electric vehicles are unable to be cured in paint booths at high temperatures. Major car manufacturers — including Audi, Lexus, Tesla, Toyota and Volvo — have released position statements specifying that curing temperatures for electric and hybrid vehicles not exceed 120 degrees.
For their safety, technicians must disconnect the high-voltage system when working on electric vehicles. This makes the vehicle susceptible to overheating, as the battery’s cooling system is disengaged.
Since electric vehicles are unable to be cured in a normal paint booth cure cycle, technicians typically use an extended low cure cycle. This doubles the bake time, reducing overall throughput and significantly slowing down a shop. Shops using an express-style clear coat face paint quality issues — a problem that is magnified when working on luxury vehicles.
Electric Infrared Curing for Electric Vehicles
To cure electric vehicles without causing damage, the best solution is short wave electric infrared (IR) technology, such as REVO Accelerated Curing Systems from Global Finishing Solutions (GFS). These systems offer a safe solution for curing electric vehicles while increasing throughput.
Penetrating directly to the surface of the substrate — whether metal, plastic or another material — short wave electric infrared curing technology heats the coating and rapidly cures it from the inside out. REVO Systems concentrate heat only on panels in need of curing, rather than the entire vehicle.
When using REVO Systems, temperatures on the exterior of the vehicle might eclipse 200 degrees, but the interior of the vehicle will not surpass 100 degrees. Therefore, the battery will not overheat, protecting the vehicle and technician. REVO Systems are also safe to use on vehicles with curtain airbags or child safety seats.
Shop processes are sped up by not having to disconnect the high-voltage system or use an extended low bake cycle or express-style clear coats. Additionally, electric infrared curing technology reduces drying time for both the prep and paint phases of repair by hours, freeing technicians to complete more repairs.
Quality Improvements with REVO Systems
There are significant quality advantages of using short wave electric infrared curing technology over conventional curing methods, gas-fired IR and refinishing methods using express-style clear coats. Short wave IR offers a fast, complete cure with only one pass per coating, since it cures the coating from the inside out. REVO Systems produce mostly short waves that heat the surface; however, a small number of medium waves simultaneously cure the top layers.
With REVO Systems, the coating is completely cured. As a result, rework is reduced, eliminating slowdowns in your shop and increasing customer satisfaction. Curing primer, sealer and paint above 120 degrees with REVO Systems also produces a shinier gloss finish.
Electric Cars Gaining Popularity
A projected 125 million electric vehicles are expected to be on the road worldwide by 2030, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). That is a drastic rise from 3 million electric vehicles in 2017.
Many car manufacturers have expanded their product line to include electric vehicles, most notably BMW, GM, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Volkswagen and Volvo. Committed to doing the same are Ford, Infiniti, Jaguar Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda, Subaru and Toyota.
As electric cars and hybrids rise in popularity, a significant impact is already being felt in the automotive repair industry. Body shops and collision repair centers may need to adapt their processes and equipment to refinish electric vehicles.
With short wave electric infrared curing technology, shops can safely repair electric vehicles, while benefiting from substantial improvements in efficiency and quality. REVO Systems also can be easily implemented into a shop’s existing processes and layout.
To learn more about how REVO Systems can improve your electric vehicle’s final finish, visit revocuring.com.