Categories : Professional working tools guide
In recent years, the use of electric cars and vehicles (EVs) has become increasingly popular. These are all those means of transportation that are powered by batteries instead of gasoline and fossil fuels. Electric Vehicle Batteries (EVBs) have a voltage that, depending on the model, ranges between 300 and 900 volts and are designed to provide power for extended periods of time.
Taking into account the high voltage of the EVBs, what should you do when working on electric cars?
Given the wide use of these types of vehicles, it is important to know what tools to use for their maintenance. For this purpose, the use of insulated tools is crucial, as they protect you in dangerous situations caused by the high voltage of the EVBs. Today on the Mister Worker™ blog, we're talking about EV tools with Wiha, German company leader in the development and production of VDE hand tools, with a range of solutions dedicated to the maintenance of electric cars and a range of the best insulated tools for electrical works.
Insulated tools are made to work on the high voltage parts and components. They are specifically designed to ensure 100% operator safety, if he/she makes contact with energized sources. They are tested to avoid injuries, short circuits and explosions. In addition, they prevent problems due to electrical contamination in the worsite.
Insulated tools are essential when the circuit needs to remain active and it cannot be disconnected while working.
Every insulated tool is labeled with the official 1000-volt rating symbol and the year of production. Therefore, technicians should always make sure they have these marks before using one.
To work on the high voltage components of electric cars, mechanics are required to use insulated tools. VDE certification is the approved reference standard to guarantee 100% operator safety and the insulation of tested tools. Non-insulated and non-certified tools are incredibly dangerous because, since they do not provide protection against electricity, they can cause injuries, short circuits and explosions.
Furthermore, EV technicians must ensure that they do not have electrical contamination in the workplace, always keeping uninsulated tools out of the designated area and following the safety instructions provided by current legislation. For this reason, it is highly recommended to only use VDE certified tools in the workshop, in order to avoid any accident.
Wiha insulated tools have won numerous awards and are all individually tested at 10,000V AC, approved at 1000V AC and 15,000V DC, and certified to operate on high voltage electricity. The VDE tool line includes a diverse range of products, from 1000v insulated screwdrivers to 1000v insulated wrenches, 1000v insulated pliers to VDE screwdriver sets and much more.
Insulated tools protect the agent against electric shock, provoked by any contact with an energized device. This is critical when you consider that EVBs have a voltage that ranges between 300 and 900, depending on the model. >25 volts is considered as high voltage. Therefore, the technology used in all battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) is high voltage.
Every EV should be checked at least every 30,000 kilometers by a specialized mechanic. Nevertheless, the European Union established that every electric vehicle or hybrid vehicle must be inspected every two years after the fourth year of “birth”. EVBs have a battery life and warranty and some battery systems use liquid coolant to maintain safe operating temperatures. These systems may require regular checks.
Yes. Torque information is available in all repair instructions. The higher the voltage (HV), the more important the role that torque plays. Properly insulated torque tools, such as Wiha insulated torque screwdrivers, are essential for performing maintenance work on electric vehicles and their components. Without them, no work can be performed on vehicle batteries. Therefore, insulated tools without torque are not suitable for use on EVs.
An example of a torque tool suitable for repairing electric cars is the Wiha Torquevario 26625 torque screwdriver. Its adjustable mechanical torque range allows you to cover a wide range of functions. When the preset mechanical torque is reached, the tool emits a clearly audible signal, which ensures safe torque applications and prevents damage to the material. The Wiha catalogue also includes torque wrenches, such as the torque wrench Electric 1/4" 1000V. Check out the complete range of Wiha Torque Tools here.
Not every space in the workshop is suitable for working on electric vehicles. Electric cars need a designated workspace cordoned off and identified with the appropriate signage (e.g. information sign, black/yellow tape). If these areas are not properly marked, this can lead to serious hazards. Only insulated tools may be used inside this workspace. If the battery and the vehicle are separated, two different workstations are required (one for the battery and one for the vehicle).
Not every mechanic is allowed to work on electric cars. Existing regulations state, on the whole, that in order to work on a hybrid or electric vehicle, it is necessary to have attended special training courses, as well as to be informed of the risks involved in working on electrical equipment. In Germany for example, everyone who wants to operate on such vehicles must attend a specific high-voltage training course, which allows him/her to acquire the appropriate qualifications to carry out this kind of work.
This training is divided into 3 levels:
- Level 1: Non-electrical engineering work
- Level 2: Electrical work in a voltage-free state
- Level 3: Working while live on the HV system
The use of insulated tools is strictly required in both levels 2 and 3. In level 2, residual currents can still be present even after the disconnection. Step 3 involves work under tension.
Founded 80 years ago as a small family business, the German company has developed considerably over time, reaching an international dimension, and is still run by the Hahn family today. Wiha has been producing 1000V VDE insulated safety tools, among other tools, for 50 years and its well-known reputation is due to the highest quality, functionality, durability and ergonomics of the products it offers. One of Wiha's key objectives is to ensure that its users can work efficiently and safely, including in the field of e-mobility.
Tools with special features, such as conformity certificates, are required for working on high-voltage systems, otherwise you risk your life! As mentioned above, all Wiha VDE insulated tools are tested at 10,000 V AC and approved for 1,000 V AC. When choosing Wiha insulated tools, you can work on electric vehicles with confidence.
As already pointed out, working on electric cars requires a separate workstation from the one usually used, as well as the use of specific tools. An example of Wiha's premium sets developed specifically for the e-workplace is the Wiha eMobility 44423 trolley. This product is currently the only workshop trolley to offer the most complete and performing VDE tool set on the market. The 44423 assortment provides you with a wide range of insulated tools (professional insulated screwdrivers, inserts, torque wrenches and much more) distributed over five drawers. In addition, thanks to its wheels, the trolley can be moved from one place to another in the workshop. From this point of view, Wiha can be seen as the supplier par excellence of tools for the e-workplace.
Other useful products that can be used in this field are the following:
Often, it is not possible to operate in difficult-to-reach areas with insulated tools: the insulating layer is damaged or non-insulated tools are used in order to complete the tasks. In both cases, you are working without protection and are taking serious risks. Regarding screwing operations in electric cars, the manufacturer has often ignored the fact that they require the use of insulated tools, which generally take up more space. Therefore, in order to access the working area, we need tools that, although insulated, have similar dimensions to non-insulated tools.
The Slim TECHNOLOGY developed by Wiha especially for electrical applications integrates the electrical insulation into the blade; this results in blades that are up to 33% slimmer. In this way, even elements located in depth can be easily reached.
Wiha Slim tools have a slimmer design that is allowed by the framework conditions (power transmission, VDE standards). Despite being VDE-tested tools, tools equipped with Wiha Slim technology have a less bulky structure than conventional tools. This means that Wiha insulated screwdrivers can also be used for screwing difficult-to-reach parts without damaging the insulating layer. Wiha insulated allen keys are also extremely thin. Although the thickness of the insulated material has been reduced so that the diameter of the tool is as small as possible, the technical requirements of the wrench are still met. The size of the insulating coating on the tools corresponds to the lowest level specified by VDE standards. This results in tools that, despite being insulated, have dimensions comparable to those of conventional tools.
The 44198 case is small-sized and can be used as a workshop set, transportable from one place to another.
The 44423 trolley, on the other hand, is ideal as a stationary solution. The choice between one product and the other depends on the circumstances under which the attached products are used.
This solution is one of the best offered by our brand: the Wiha eMobility workshop trolley brings together all the Wiha VDE tools and insulated multi tool you need to work on hybrid and electric vehicles. By perfectly organizing your products inside five easily pull-out drawers, thanks to this trolley, you can say goodbye to clutter! With this Wiha workshop trolley, you'll always have the perfect Wiha insulated electrical tool for any occasion at hand, from voltage testers to torque wrenches, protective gloves to warning signs. The extra space provided by the Wiha 44423 and the integrated quad socket allow you to expand the product in order to include electrical appliances. However, the workshop trolley can also be used on the move as a stable work surface, as it can be transported around the workshop thanks to its wheels.
Compact, handy and sturdy, the Wiha eMobility XL case offers all the essential Wiha insulated electrical hand tools for working on hybrid and electric vehicles. The case comes with an ergonomic bi-material shoulder strap that ensures easy carrying and makes this set an indispensable companion for your daily activities. Thanks to its practicality, this electric vehicle tool kit is the smartest solution for all those who need to move from one place to another. Since the box has a large interior space with well-structured inserts you will be able to access all your tools without difficulty and have the right tool at the right time. In addition, the extra space and empty pockets that Wiha 44198 XL case is equipped with offer additional tool storage space. The case is made of sturdy polypropylene and it’s also equipped with gas pressure shock absorbers that maintain the stability of the lid in different opening positions, preventing it from closing uncontrollably and thus preventing injury to the user.
The sets are composed of insulated electrical tools, which are ideal to work on EVs. Therefore, we could say that they are designed for this purpose, considering all the features and profiles included. However, both solutions can also be used for various types of more general activities, such as assembly work, industrial operations and at vehicle charging stations. In fact, all the insulated tools can be used to work on non-electrical components.
Anyway, if you are looking for non-insulated tools, the Wiha mechanics tool sets could be ideal for you. In particular, the 45256 - Tool Case Basic Set L mechanic (46 pcs.) and the 45154 - Tool Backpack Set L Mechanic (65 pcs.) are among the most chosen of the range.
The aforementioned Wiha 44423 and Wiha 44198 sets are very wide and include all the necessary equipment (HV gloves, voltage testers, cable sheaths, etc.). In addition, Wiha offers a torque solution of 0.8 - 25 Nm for all profiles (TorqueVario S 0.8-5 Nm and torque wrench 3/8" 5-25 Nm).
It can be honestly said that, at the moment, these are the most efficient eMobility sets available, which is why no comparison is made with other sets designed for this sector, even though, on the market, there are some eMobility sets of different brands.