For the week of October 14 through 18, the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) conducted an auto tech training at Vale High School in Vale, OR. Vale High School was the winning team from the 2013 Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition in Dearborn, MI.

As part of their prize package, Vale High School won a week-long Electric Drive Automotive Technician training from the NAFTC. This course instructs students in the fundamentals, system design, diagnostic considerations, and special service topics of HEVs, BEVs, PHEVs, and FCEVs. The course covers appropriate safety measures in maintaining electric drive vehicles and describes their electric propulsion systems including construction, operation, control strategies, service tools, scan tool data, and basic diagnostic fundamentals.

NAFTC Instructor Mark Schmidt taught the class.

“The students at Vale High School were very interested in the electric systems of the vehicles we discussed. They particularly enjoyed drawing system components out on a large scale with chalk,” said Schmidt. “Drawing complete systems themselves allowed the students to mentally work through the electrical components of the vehicle, and gave them a deeper understanding of how the battery, inverter, and other components work together to power the vehicle.”

Autotech 1

Students at Vale High School drew larger-than-life electrical systems for electric drive vehicles as part of their week-long Electric Drive Automotive Technician training. Credit: NAFTC.

Students also learned diagnostic processes and worked with electric drive scan tools and Toyota Prius motor-generators that were disassembled.

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition that offers nearly $12 million in scholarships and prizes to high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians. More than 13,000 students from across the U.S. compete for the chance to represent their school and state in the National Finals. The competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities. Participating teams diagnose and repair a number of purposefully placed “bugs” in vehicles ranging from digital to mechanical and electrical.

  • Competing teams in the Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition in Dearborn, MI. Credit: AAA Auto Skills._

Vale High School earned a “perfect car” score by flawlessly repairing all the “bugs” without any demerits. Combined with their results on a written examination taken on June 10, their score placed them as national champions. This is Vale High School’s sixth national win.

“It was exciting to work with the next generation of automotive technicians. The cars that they work with in the future, will be very different than the ones that I grew up with. New cars, especially electric drive vehicles, rely more and more on computer systems to run,” said NAFTC Assistant Director – Curricula and Training Micheal Smyth. “As electric drive vehicles continue to grow in popularity so will the need for qualified, well-trained technicians to maintain them. These students are part of a select few that are ready to work on these new technologies.”

For additional information on the competition, visit
For additional information about the training, visit:

Share this: