As the field of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles evolves, it is essential for the automotive technician workforce to be properly trained to provide maintenance on new technology vehicles. The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) launched a newly-developed Electric Drive Vehicle Automotive Technician Training program to help bring this information to automotive instructors across the country.

The NAFTC introduced its Electric Drive Vehicle Automotive Technician Training course at the San Jacinto College Transportation Center in La Porte, Texas from February 11-15. Automotive instructors and administrators from NAFTC National and Associate Training Centers from across the country attended the 40-hour train-the-trainer course. “The course is structured to give the automotive trainers the skills, knowledge and abilities to incorporate the technology of advanced electric drive vehicles into their existing courses in their automotive training programs,” Bill Davis, NAFTC assistant director of operations, said. “The course combines classroom learning activities with a significant amount of hands-on training in lab and shop environments.”

Participants of the NAFTC’s Electric Drive Vehicle Automotive Technician Training course were provided a combination of classroom learning activities and hands-on training in automotive labs. Credit: NAFTC.

Through completing this course, NAFTC member schools are equipped to implement the training in their own classrooms, training hundreds of future automotive technicians on electric drive technology. The training is provided as part of the NAFTC’s Advanced Electric Drive Vehicle Education Program, which is a U.S. Department of Energy grant funded program designed to educate various groups about their roles in preparing America for alternative transportation, specifically advanced electric drive vehicles.

“Participants learned the fundamentals, system design, diagnostic applications and special service topics for the electric vehicles in the classroom,” Davis said. “They then took this knowledge to the lab and shop, where they performed tasks such as diagnosing the faults in a motor generator, removing and reinstalling a Toyota Prius high voltage battery, and diagnosis and repair of faults in a Prius inverter, along with other technical hands-on skills and abilities. The knowledge these instructors gain in this training will be invaluable when transferred to their students in the training they conduct in their programs.”

A team of NAFTC member school instructors use a Toyota scan tool to diagnose a gen 3 Prius at the AED Automotive Technician train-the-trainer, Houston, TX. Credit: NAFTC.

The course instructs participants on appropriate safety measures in maintaining, diagnosing and servicing advanced electric drive vehicles, and describes electric propulsion systems–including their construction, operation, control strategies, service tools, scan tool data, and diagnostic fundamentals.

Training participants worked on a Toyota Prius high voltage battery and an inverter, in addition to other hands-on activities. Credit: NAFTC.

Course objectives included coverage of required fundamentals, system design and operation, diagnostics, service and repair of hybrid electric, battery electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell electric vehicles. The course emphasized the importance of adhering to appropriate and necessary safety measures for each type of vehicle. The course also explained auxiliary systems required by alternative power trains, such as electric power steering and electric air conditioning compressors.

The NAFTC will host another Electric Drive Vehicle Automotive Technician Training course at its headquarters in Morgantown, West Virginia on March 11-15.

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