EV growth demands alternative tyre servicing solution
While sales of eco-friendly electric and hybrid cars have been slowly accelerating for a number of years, figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that for the first time ever, sales of new electric and hybrid cars recently overtook that of diesels for the first time ever. Although we’re probably still some time away from the real tipping point of mass adoption of electric vehicles in the UK, workshops are being advised that they need to prepare for this now, as they will only see more and more EVs and hybrids coming through their doors.
“One of the key differences that workshops will need to address as part of the electric revolution is the focus and attention that will come from drivers on any vibration or ride quality issues,” explains Clive Seabrook, CEO, Pro-Align, the exclusive UK distributor of Hunter wheel servicing equipment. “Without an internal combustion engine, the only vibrations that drivers will notice are those coming from the wheel and tyre assemblies or the suspension setup so it’s essential that workshops prepare for this with equipment that can diagnose and solve these issues efficiently and effectively.”
The solution, according to Pro-Align, is the Hunter Road Force Elite (RFE) diagnostic wheel balancer who points out that traditional wheel balancers are unable to solve the most challenging and subtle of wheel vibration issues other than by trial and error alone.
However, adopting a unique diagnostic approach, the RFE can fix vibration problems doing so in less time than a standard wheel balancer. The RFE differs from standard balancers as it measures tyre forces known as Road Force Variation (RFV) and Lateral Force (LF) to conduct a full diagnostic of the wheel and tyre assembly. It does this by scanning the wheel rim and applying a load via a roller to take the wheel and tyre assembly on a simulated road test.
Once RFV is identified, the balancer provides a ‘ForceMatching’ recommendation which matches the stiff spot on the tyre with the low spot on the wheel rim, minimising any vibrations to give a smoother ride. Where LF is identified due to conicity of the tyres, the RFE even advises of the best position on the vehicle to counteract it for a straighter drive.
The new ‘vision’ rim scan technology which is only available on the very latest version of the Road Force Elite balancer, means the use of any balance weights can be minimised and placed more effectively for a more accurate balance. With the identification of spoke locations via the scan, the weights can also be hidden behind spokes resulting in a more aesthetically pleasing solution.
“Undoubtedly, motorists are going to become more demanding of workshops with regard to wheel vibration issues,” adds Seabrook. “Of course, this isn’t exclusively an EV issue as ride quality continues to improve on all cars. Thankfully though, we’re delighted that once again, the insightful engineers at Hunter have been among the first to identify this future problem and develop a solution that will help workshops provide their customers with the very best levels of service.”