A garage repairs electric vehicles in Carquefou on November 30, 2022 near Nantes (AFP / LOIC VENANCE)
No oil slicks or petrol smells: a garage dedicated to 100% electric (and hybrid) cars opened in mid-October north of Nantes with the aim of carrying out the cheapest repairs possible for the wallet and the environment.
“When an electric car owner breaks down, they are often offered a complete replacement of the battery or charger,” explains Alexis Markadet, 35, managing director and co-founder of Revolte, France’s first ‘electronic garage’. .
“It’s like going to the doctor with a cough and he offers us a lung transplant,” said the man, who used to rent electric scooters.
The Revolte e-garage brand in Carquefou on November 30, 2022 (AFP / LOIC VENANCE)
Revolte, which employs about fifteen people, was founded in 2020, when more than 300,000 electric and rechargeable hybrid vehicles are already in circulation in France, according to figures from the Ministry of Ecological Transition.
After the prototype was tested in Rennes, around sixty private investors allowed the opening of this brand new garage, completely silent and with no drop of oil staining the floor and no smell of gasoline entering the nostrils.
In the workshop, electronic mechanics focus on finding the exact cause of failure between electrical components or sub-components to keep vehicles running.
“Sometimes it’s enough to change a small part of the battery, a simple contactor or a resistor,” explains Revolte co-founder Jérémie Noirot, 38, who used to work for SNCF.
“Replacing the battery can cost 17,000 euros, replacing the electric card inside is ten times less,” he says, estimating the average amount of the quotes offered at around 2,000 euros.
“We appeal to pioneers who bought an electric car before 2015 and are no longer under warranty,” explains Alexis Marcadet.
“They’re faced with aftermarkets dedicated to thermal cars that don’t have the capacity, tools or space to repair their cars,” he said.
– “Excellent technician” –
Fabrice Godefroy, the Union’s mobility and environment expert for the 40 million motorists, points to the need to “create a real sector”, noting the difficulties in “getting information from equipment manufacturers and producers” for the aftermarket of electric vehicles.
“An electric car requires more technical skills and they shouldn’t be too expensive to maintain in the end” and therefore “disposable cars”, he criticizes.
The cars supported by the Revolte (Renault Zoé, Peugeot iOn, Citroën C0, Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul or even the DS5 hybrid) are well apart in terms of safety.
“Electric batteries are constantly under voltage, we have to be careful in all our manipulations,” warns Mr. Noirot, who is wearing safety clothing and a face shield.
There is no preliminary training course to become an “electronic mechanic” yet. Workshop members therefore have skills in thermal mechanics or electrical engineering.
To keep up with demand — the garage has a waiting list of about a hundred cars — Revolte wants to hire about ten “electronic mechanics” in 2023.
“Revolte Academy” was also created to train new recruits and introduce young people or professionals to retraining for this profession.
“Recruitment in the automotive sector is a real challenge, but we rely on our pursuit of sustainability to differentiate ourselves,” says Pauline Toussaint, 32, head of the academy.
The young company hopes to prove that this “electronic garage” concept has a future before it spreads elsewhere in France.