Scrapyards and Dismantlers Risk Electrocution From Hybrids And Electric Vehicles
The best-selling hybrid is the Toyota Prius which has been available since 1997 so scrap car collectors are not only starting to see hybrid and electric vehicles as salvage from accident damage, but also as end of life vehicles ready for scrap.
Recent figures show that Toyota has in fact sold over 6 million hybrids across the world, and this number will be rising. Expected international car sales over the next 6 years will add a further 85 million cars in circulation with an estimated 40% of these being a type of hybrid or electrically powered vehicle.
With conventional petrol and diesel engines that have been dismantled widely for many decades, there are routine systems in place that enable fluids to be drained and parts to be removed effortlessly. However, as collectors and dismantlers are now seeing these heavy duty electric battery powered vehicles on their doorstep, they need to branch out their methods in new directions.
To complicate the situation further, it is also becoming harder for people to instantly see which vehicles are hybrid, electric or conventional petrol or diesel as newer models are being offered in all variants such as the new Volkswagen Golf which will soon be available in all of the above! The Volkswagen Up is already available in petrol or electric.
To throw yet another spanner into the works not all electric batteries are wired the same way. Some of the circuits are set up in series while others are set up in parallel. With the risk of being electrocuted by over 500 volts or more dismantlers need to be wary of the procedures and have been attending training courses.
Another potential danger has been the strength of the magnets used in these vehicles and incidents have occurred where the power of the magnet has attracted the metal assembly with such force that fingers of dismantlers have been completely detached.However, it is good to know that the tools and equipment needed for the job are not as unique as you may think but dismantlers do need to become aware of these dangers.