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Audi trains SA paramedics to disarm e-tron vehicles

The first-of-its-kind training programme aims to keep paramedics, fire services and passengers safe during rescue operations

27 May 2022 - 15:22 By Phuti Mpyane
Audi SA technical product trainer Brain Smith guides the first responders on the protocols of deactivating an Audi etron electric vehicle.
Audi SA technical product trainer Brain Smith guides the first responders on the protocols of deactivating an Audi etron electric vehicle.

Audi SA has concluded a training programme for 70 SA first responders hosted at their dealer training academy in Pretoria as part of its introduction of the fully electric Audi e-tron model range.

It’s a first-of-its-kind safety and education initiative for the local market.

“First responders, like paramedics and fire services, play a vital role in the safety and security of SA drivers, and with the growing transition towards e-mobility there was definitely an important responsibility on our part to bring these teams along our local EV [electric vehicle] transition or journey,” said Sascha Sauer, head of Audi SA.

The classroom and practical-based EV training aims to educate first responders on how to adequately and safely handle EV incidents. EVs can have up to 800V coursing through their internal parts and their electrical system could require deactivation before serious rescues such as cutting open the vehicle to extract passengers after an accident. Cutting the wrong cable could result in injury or fatalities for passengers and first responders.

Director of fire services Thibedi Jappie Lengoabala, who also attended the course, reiterated the importance of such training. He recounted the early days of airbags that would explode mid-rescue and injure rescuers.

“With the arrival of more electric vehicles on our roads and across the country, the training of this nature was invaluable to our first responder teams. Thank you to Audi for exposing us to this new topic.

“Skilled and qualified personnel is key to all of this. Audi is proud to start the educational training process with our national fire and emergency services teams, helping to keep them and South Africans safe on the roads.”

Sauer said: “Understanding the basic EV construction and technicalities will empower emergency and fire services to react with confidence while saving lives, but also limiting as much damage as possible to the vehicle.”

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