The 2011 North American Council of Automotive Teachers (NACAT) Conference was held July 18-22 in Winnipeg, Canada. The conference featured more than 30 booths from its members at the trade show and featured seminars and training sessions with more than 50 speakers.

The slate of the conference’s speakers included National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) National Instructor Mark Schmidt, who led two separate sessions of the training “Safety Procedures Applied to Diagnostics of Electric Drive Vehicles.”

“Working on electric vehicles is sometimes like working on a fuse box,” Schmidt explained. “Knowing when to power on and power off, testing with high-voltage gloves and using them properly are some of the things I discussed at the safety training session.”


NACAT attendees participate in the “Safety Procedures Applied to Diagnostics of Electric Drive Vehicles” workshop by removing the inverter from a first generation Toyota Prius. Credit: NAFTC

Other NAFTC members who spoke about hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles at the conference included Tom Birch, formerly with Yuba College, who led sessions on hybrid vehicle drivetrains. In addition, Ivy Tech Community College’s Eric Erskin presented on developing methods to integrate electric and hybrid vehicle technologies into an associate’s degree.

NAFTC Assistant Director of Training and Curriculum Development Micheal Smyth was also on hand to promote training and education at the NAFTC booth during the conference’s trade show.

“We had a lot of traffic and talked to a number of schools interested in joining the NAFTC,” Smyth noted. “We informed conference goers about our membership opportunities, our offerings of electric vehicle and traditional courses and our work with the Advanced Electric Drive Vehicle Education Program and the Clean Cities Learning Program.”Additionally, other NAFTC training center members were represented at the conference including Jonathan Brown, Ruth Morrison and Richard Thomas with Southern Maine Community College; Mir Alikhan and Jeffrey Parks with Tyler Junior College; and Donald Schumacher with Yuba College.

“It was a great opportunity to promote the NAFTC, visit with our current members and meet and network with new schools who are interested in our training program,” concluded Schmidt.

Part of the NAFTC’s participation and outreach at the NACAT Conference was possible through the consortium’s participation in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Electric Drive Vehicle Education Program, which includes curricula, training and outreach and education materials on advanced electric drive vehicles.

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