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Volvo covering the cost of tools, training for new service techs

The Volvo Technician Tool Program will provide much-needed tools to automotive technicians who normally have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy their own.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Training to be an automotive technician has one large monetary obstacle for many - tools. In addition to paying for training and certification, most name-brand car retailer employers also expect technicians to own their own set of repair tools. Combined, training and tools can cost upwards of $20,000.

The Volvo Technician Tool Program eliminates that cost by providing technicians free and permanent access to the tools they need to do their jobs.

Volvo Car USA has worked with Wurth Tools to assemble a 72-piece set of hand and cordless tools that will enable service techs to get off the ground with their career. Volvo estimates the tools will allow them to perform 80 percent of their jobs they would encounter at a certified Volvo Car Service Center.

Volvo Technician Tool ProgramRetailers are responsible for the tools and will replace missing and broken equipment.Photo courtesy of Volvo Car USA

Tools are organized and stored in a custom locking cabinet installed by the retailer, who is responsible for maintaining and replacing individual pieces.

"The Volvo Technician Tool Program (VTTP) addresses one of the biggest challenges facing the automotive industry: the need for more technicians," said Scott Doering, Vice President, Customer Service at Volvo Car USA. "With this initiative, we see substantial value delivered to our retailer partners, especially given the nominal VTTP investment relative to the cost of recruiting or replacing a technician."

"We have spent the last six months validating these toolsets in our in-house workshop and our technicians' feedback has been resoundingly positive," Doering said. "We expect retailers will feel the same."

Earlier this year, Volvo announced a hiring initiative aimed at U.S. military veterans. The company's Veteran Technician Careers Program U.S. military veterans as well as National Guard and Reserve members, for careers as Volvo Quality Level Technicians and Volvo Hybrid Specialists across its U.S. dealership network.

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Volvo will install 60 ChargePoint chargers at Starbucks locations in the west and Northwest.

Volvo

Volvo plans to be an electric-only automaker by 2030, and along the way to that goal, the automaker is investing in services and infrastructure to support its vehicles. Today, Volvo announced a partnership with coffee giant Starbucks that will provide dozens of chargers at coffee shops in the west and northwest U.S.

As part of the deal, Volvo will install up to 60 company-branded chargers at up to 15 Starbucks stores on the route between Denver and Seattle. Volvo says it aims to install charging locations every 100 miles along the 1,350-mile route between the Mile-High City and Starbucks hometown of Seattle.

Volvo-Starbucks PartnershipVolvo's goal is to install a charger every 100 miles. Volvo

Though they'll have Volvo's name on the front, the chargers are from ChargePoint, and drivers will use a built-in ChargePoint app to access services. The function is available in the vehicle's infotainment system, and will help locate and use the chargers. Volvo says all EV drivers will be able to access the chargers for a fee, but notes that its owners will get free or discounted charging.

A Volvo-Starbucks partnership isn't as crazy as it sounds at first. Beyond the fact that there's likely quite a bit of overlap in both brands' customers, the move furthers Starbucks' sustainability goals and provides Volvo owners with a free or low-cost charging solution. The project should be done by the end of this year, so keep your eyes open if you're getting coffee in a Volvo EV in the area.

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Some owners have discovered that their car's video games work when the car is moving.

Tesla

Tesla's vehicles are among the most advanced and forward-thinking products of any kind, but serious innovation doesn't come with tradeoffs. The automaker has been in the news recently because of issues with how its advanced cruise control systems function, and now, Autoblog reports that the NHTSA is asking questions about Tesla giving drivers the ability to play video games and browse the internet while driving.

Tesla Arcade hands-on: the Model 3 is your video game consoleyoutu.be

The feature is intended to be used while the car is parked, such as while charging, so the discovery that people can use them while driving is a serious one. Vince Patton, the person who filed the complaint with the NHTSA, tested his car and found that he could play Solitaire and a fairly involved action game while it was in motion. Internet browsing was also possible, meaning the driver could take their attention completely off the road ahead for extended periods of time.

Tesla Model 3Tesla's screens offer advanced functions that many others do not. Tesla

Tesla was already under investigation over crashes involving its Autopilot feature. Several collisions have occurred between Teslas and emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Following the initiation of that investigation, the NHTSA raised other questions with the automaker over a buggy software update that was pushed out, retracted, fixed, and reissued outside of the normal recall process. Despite their names, it's important to clarify that neither the Autopilot nor Full Self-Driving features are capable of driving the cars without driver awareness and input.

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