Young entrepreneur sets up singapore’s first hybrid electric specialist hub.
For Jonathan Zhang, being an ordinary car dealer does not cut it. The 21-year old recognised the demand for a facility specialising in hybrid electric vehicles and seized the opportunity to set up hevshop, Singapore’s first hybrid electric specialist hub.
Just like the hybrid segment in Singapore, hevshop is a young but growing company that prides itself in its expertise with hybrid electric vehicles.
As hevshop’s director, Jonathan took some time out from his busy schedule and spoke to Torque about his growing company.
Jonathan inspects a brand new hybrid vehicle.
Why did you decide to specialise in hybrid electric vehicles?
It all began in 2004, when my father’s company was dealing with hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius. He realised that the maintenance issues that cropped up from hybrids were not being handled appropriately by workshops.
There were no workshops that specialised in hybrid cars. We saw an opportunity to develop the hybrid electric industry to make it more sustainable and attractive. We re-examined our strategy for future motoring and demands of hybrid electric vehicles.
We wanted to share the benefits of driving a hybrid while giving owners a peace of mind. To achieve this, we decided that it is vital for owners to have reliable end-to-end support.
Can problems occur when a hybrid car is serviced by a non-specialist workshop?
One prominent incident that I still recall was with this Toyota Alphard Hybrid that had a damaged front bumper following an accident, and it was sent to a non-hybrid specialist workshop for repairs.
Unknowingly, the workshop replaced one of the inverter cooling pumps with the wrong part. This led to an overheating of the hybrid inverter, which resulted in a costly correction repair – an inverter replacement. The entire incident wasted the owner’s time and money, and left him quite stressed.
I felt that these mistakes could have been easily avoided had the car been assessed by a hybrid expert, who would be aware of the needs and requirements of a hybrid vehicle.
A hybrid specialist utilising specialised Lexus diagnostic software to identify problems before rectifying them.
How does hevshop differentiate itself from an authorised dealer’s service centre?
As hybrid specialists, we are fully aware of the needs of a hybrid vehicle and its owner. We are familiar with what owners look for when driving such a car. Cost is a big factor when it comes to vehicle maintenance. We provide hybrid battery replacements at very reasonable costs. Sometimes, these costs are only half of what authorised dealers normally charge.
Because we deal with a number of hybrid vehicles across different brands and models, we educate their owners as well as share with them tips on how to best drive their cars efficiently and correctly. This also helps to prevent any hybrid-related problems from ever arising.
Among other approaches, we collaborated with a Japanese counterpart to acquire the original factory diagnostic software for Lexus, Toyota and Honda. This allows us to diagnose hybrid-electricvehicle issues with pinpoint accuracy before conducting a repair.
A hybrid specialist preparing to install a battery in a Lexus Hybrid.
Any words of advice for buyers considering a hybrid car?
Hybrids can offer amazing fuel economy and travel further on a single tank of fuel. When running in electric mode, they are pleasantly quiet, too.
If you’re shopping for a hybrid, always check whether the dealer has a warranty from a workshop that knows its hybrid cars.
Although it is tempting to shop for a lower price, if the workshop providing the warranty does not know how to handle hybrid vehicles, you could end up paying more for maintenance/repairs down the road.