Salvage Wire

Salvage Wire
Helping Automotive recyclers become leaders in their industry

Friday 23 October 2020

Ban on Internal Combustion Engines from 2030, 2032, 2035….. how will we cope?????

 Difficult one this, but is definitely a subject that needs to be spoken about. We have 10-12 years to get this right and this includes a number of factors:

This does not mean that fossil fuels will be ‘switched off’ in 12-15 years time, it is just that new ICE vehicles cannot be sold, so if the ban comes into force at the start of 2035 then the ICE vehicles sold in 2034 will still be in use for another 12-15 years.

ICE vehicles and the fuel, will be taxed VERY heavily to drive them out of use as quickly as possible.

Road charging and road tolls will become much more commonplace to back-fill the loss of revenue from fossil fuels

Used vehicle supply - the Nissan Leaf has been around for 8 years now, useable ones are available at sensible money for those that cannot afford a brand new vehicle. There is a massive influx of new ‘zero emission’ vehicles coming onto the market over the next 24 months, so as we move towards 2030 a significant number of used vehicles will be available giving lots of choice at all price points and keeping those on low wages mobile.

Electric vehicles WILL NOT be the only solution, hydrogen powered vehicles will also be available - the problem here is the infrastructure to refuel these vehicles. Traditional ‘oil’ companies can lead the way here by back-filling the reduction of fossil fuel sales by producing hydrogen ‘on-site’; and dispensing it at source. I believe that hydrogen will become the choice of many heavy vehicles and long distance travellers with electric being the choice for lower mileage users.

Look at how you use your vehicles, do you drive more than 50 miles per day? Many do not! The vast majority of new electric vehicles have 180-280 miles of range, so do they need to be re-charged every night?

A lot of very intelligent people are researching the power supply system and providing, or suggesting alternative solutions. One example is vehicle to grid. You arrive home in our electric vehicle and have around 30% range left, you plug into your smart home charger, and the grid

can take a small amount of power out of your vehicle at peak demand time (1KWh is about 4-5 miles of range) and pay you for that energy. Overnight your electric car is then recharged using clean, renewable energy and it is ready to go the following morning.

One of the best bits of advice I saw recently came from an electrical engineer to school leavers - his advice was to train as an electrical engineer as this will be an industry that is currently growing and will expand massively in the next few years as they pivot towards the new future. They have 10 years to get it right!

Don’t forget, this is not just the automotive industry, but commercial heating, domestic hot water, heating and more will all be forced to move towards a zero emission future, so this demands a fundamental rethink of how we use power, where it comes from, and how to reduce CO2 emissions

Vehicle recycling will remain an integral part of the automotive industry, it will evolve and change, develop and grow as the vehicles change and the value base gradually alters from fossil fuel vehicles towards zero emission. How we deal with high voltage batteries in 2030 will be very different to how we deal with those components today!


Monday 5 October 2020

Management of Electric Vehicles in the Collision Repair Industry

It is time for leaders and influencers in the automotive industry to stand up and raise the profile of leadership; focusing on leadership skills and development of these skills is possibly more important than technical skills and training for the shop staff. Skills will reflect in improved staff performance, staff retention, efficiency, safety, profitability, and much more.

There are excellent collision repair centres out there; the truly exceptional are probably the top 10%, unfortunately, I do not work with these every single day! However, whilst training collision repair centres to Level 3 standard in electric and hybrid technology I do see failures in leadership, management and delegation, and if what I see in this area of the business is reflected across the rest of the company, then heaven help them!
This is just one example of a collision repair centre in the UK that I experienced recently. 
  • High voltage PPE shared with the mechanical repair centre next door.
  • No high voltage tools at all

  • Technicians didn’t know who their first aider was and believed that they didn’t have a first aid trained person in their department
  • Belief that EVERY high voltage vehicle had to be disconnected no matter what was being done on the vehicle.
  • No system to lock out HV disconnect devices to prevent untrained or unauthorised reconnection of the vehicle, citing “what if we need to move the vehicle from panel shop to paint shop” as an excuse.
  • No equipment to move an isolated vehicle around the business.
  • No training or PPE for vehicle damage assessors - normally amongst the first person to go ‘hands on’ the vehicle.
  • No system of identifying high voltage vehicles in the compound or in the workshop (warning signs or similar).
  • Complete failure to identify high voltage responsibilities across the business - who is allowed to do what to a high voltage vehicle!
  • No understanding of the additional fire risks that high voltage batteries bring
Who is responsible for safety? Everyone is! Each person plays a part in the safety of any company. It could be four technicians sat around a table at break-time to share ideas to stop themselves from getting hurt, or a corporation of five thousand where safety is established in the boardroom and cascaded down. 
  • Tools and PPE - do not share and get your own - this is especially important in the light of Covid-19 and sharing of high voltage gloves and saves the issue experienced when completing the HV training where the tools and PPE kit was in use elsewhere in the business when the practical assessment section of the training needed to be completed. Many collision repair centres do not understand the importance of correct refitting of high voltage components and the need to make certain everything is connected correctly, and where bolts or nuts have been removed that these are tightened to the correct torque.

    Over-tightening can damage connections or terminals and any damage could result in increased resistance in the high voltage system - increased resistance will result in an increase in heat which could result in a fire. An insulated torque wrench is an essential part of any high voltage technicians tool kit along with full details of torque settings for all bolts or nuts that may have been disturbed during the work.
  • First Aider - have a number within each department so there is cover if someone is away from the business and constantly train and refresh the knowledge. 
  • Training and awareness of electric and hybrid vehicles should be compulsory for all staff and not restricted to just the technicians, this way the management team can understand and assess risk, build processes and protocols, assign responsibilities and make certain that the correct tools and equipment are available for everyone.

I Bring You Fire!

 “I am the god of hellfire! And I bring you Fire”, this is the opening line of the 1968 chart hit Fire by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (listen to it on your streaming platform). A bit later in the song you find the lyrics “Fire, to destroy all you’ve done. Fire, to end all you’ve become.” Lyrics that could perfectly describe the crazy world of a small number of automotive recycling businesses that don’t have any fire prevention plans in place.

Vehicle Fire Blankets can form an important part of any vehicle recyclers fire prevention plan, as a fire in any vehicle can be suppressed by one of these blankets very quickly and safely. The blankets limit damage to adjacent vehicles or buildings, the need for any water is eradicated and the interruption to the business is massively reduced.

High voltage vehicles are no more likely to catch fire than conventional vehicles, but the blaze could be much more severe if they are ignited.

There are a number of reasons for these fires, including:

  • External Factors - something else causes a fire
  • Incorrect Handling - poor storage of vehicle or battery
  • External Damage - due to an accident or incident
  • Overcharging or deep discharging
  • Internal fault in battery or vehicle

High Voltage batteries can burn at very high temperatures, release highly toxic substances and require extreme volumes of water to put out and cool down. Fire services I work with are advising a requirement for 10,000 litres of water (approx 2,500 gallons) for a single electric vehicle fire - the majority of this water is required to keep the battery cool after the fire has been stopped because there is a risk that the battery will re-ignite if it hasn’t been cooled down sufficiently. Just imagine your own yard; can the drains or interceptor tank cope with 10,000 litres of contaminated water running off the yard in a very short space of time?

In tests temperatures between 700 and 1000 C have been recorded when an electric vehicle battery has been on fire - you can only imagine the effect of this type of conflagration in a vehicle recycling yard or workshop, so updated fire prevention plans are essential for all vehicle recycling and dismantling facilities to factor in high voltage vehicles and their components, and Vehicle Fire Blankets can be integral in these plans, for example.

Consider using a vehicle fire blanket over the vehicle whilst on the transporter so if the vehicle does catch fire during delivery the resulting damage may be reduced

You do not know what condition the vehicle is in as it arrives in the yard, it may catch fire overnight so put the vehicle in a quarantined area with a clear 5 meters (15 feet) of open space around it until it can be dismantled - this is to ensure that if a fire occurs the vehicle will not create additional damage to surrounding vehicles or buildings. Alternatively, deploy a vehicle fire blanket over the vehicle so it is quarantined without the need for lots of space. 

Have fire blankets available for quick response so if any vehicle catches fire the blanket can be deployed swiftly and safely and a major fire will be avoided.

Consistently train and practice using these blankets so everyone in the business knows what to do if a fire is detected.

In the Crazy World of Arthur Brown “You’re gonna burn”; in our world we have plans in place so that we don’t burn, and if the worst case scenario does happen then the damage will not destroy all that we have built!

For more details on car fire blanket look at , to purchase contact and for a best management practice on electric and hybrid vehicles refer to