February 27th, 2017

Training Roundup February 2017


February 2017 Training Roundup

In January, Mark Schmidt, the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) national trainer, conducted the organization’s Electric Drive Vehicle Automotive Technician Training course in Kenner, LA.

The training, attended by 20 technicians at the City of Kenner’s facilities, was hosted by the Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership and funded by the North Central Texas Council of Governments through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities. The five-day course helped participants understand electric drive vehicles and how they operate differently from conventionally fueled vehicles. Participants learned how to safely maintain all types of electric drive vehicles.

“The chemistry between all the participants in the electric drive class was terrific,” Schmidt says. “We had a mix of younger experience technicians and seasoned veterans that have seen it all—but were still willing to learn about electric drive vehicles. The support from the Clean Cities folks, Rebecca and Courtney, helped make this a superb training.”

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NAFTC Instructor Mark Schmidt (fourth from the left) poses with attendees of the Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership electric drive vehicle training in Kenner, LA. Credit: NAFTC.

The number of electric drive vehicles is growing every year. Mandates such as the Federal Energy Policy Act require most large fleets to include alternative fuel vehicles in ever-growing numbers. In addition, many consumers have chosen electric drive vehicles.

In February, Schmidt returned to Kenner to teach NAFTC’s three-day Propane Autogas Vehicle Technican Training course. Also funded by the North Central Texas Council of Governments through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities program, the training taught participants to safely service and maintain propane autogas vehicles. The class covered both liquid and vapor-injected propane autogas vehicle systems for both converted and factory-made propane autogas vehicles.

“We greatly appreciate the opportunity to partner with NAFTC to provide alternative fuel trainings for local mechanics. One of the first questions we get from fleets when we talk to them about alternative fuels is “Where can we have the vehicle serviced?” These trainings will help fill that gap and promote the use of cleaner transportation in the New Orleans region,” commented Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership Director Rebecca Otte.

“The overall reaction from participants has been overwhelmingly positive. It was great to be able to have access to such quality training that includes both classroom and hands-on learning. Mark did a wonderful job customizing the trainings to our participants. We’re also grateful to the Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities at NCTCOG for providing us with this opportunity through their “Filling Critical Gaps through Innovative Cradle-to-Grave Training” program,” she continued.

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NAFTC Instructor Mark Schmidt (second from the left) poses with attendees of the Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership electric drive vehicle training in Kenner, LA. Credit: New Orleans Regional Planning Commission.

NAFTC Director Bill Davis traveled to northeast Ohio as a featured presenter at a January 27 Earth Day Coalition workshop. As part of their “Fuel for Thought” series, the workshop covered fleet applications using compressed natural gas (CNG).

“Working with Clean Cities Coalitions to provide fleet managers with information about alternative fuels is a key part of the NAFTC mission,” Davis says. “Compressed natural gas is one option for fleets, providing a clean alternative to gasoline or diesel in many applications. We were delighted to present at this workshop and participate in the question and answer period. The audience was extremely receptive and had excellent questions to help them understand the benefits of using an alternative fuel for their fleet applications.”

Davis and other presenters explored the environmental, economic and general benefits of CNG and renewable CNG for local fleet managers, industry representatives, and sustainability program managers. Devo Bavishi, who operates a fleet of CNG taxis and manages a Clean Energy CNG fueling station, provided information about the process of installing a CNG station, as well as the benefits and challenges of operating a CNG fleet.

Two additional workshops are planned, highlighting Propane Autogas and Electric Drive Vehicles. For additional information on the upcoming workshops click here.




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February 27th, 2017

Industry Headlines February 2017


Electric Smart Cars in the USA

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In the coming years, those cute Smart cars you see will increasingly be electric vehicles. Daimler—Smart’s parent company—announced that it will be moving away from internal combustion engine vehicles in the U.S. and Canada and transitioning to all-electric vehicles instead.

“To be more specific, the company is now planning to cease the sale of Smart-branded cars with gasoline engines in the U.S. and Canada by the time that the 2017 model reaches the end of its sales life (this autumn),” writes James Ayers. “All sales in those two countries thereafter will be all-electric Smart cars only.”

“The news shouldn’t be too surprising for those reading this,” Ayers continues, “as the Smart brand (and super compacts in general) have always faced an uphill battle in the U.S., and the all-electric version better fulfills the market that is there (urban people wanting to limit their greenhouse gas emissions and/or fuel costs).”

New Hyundai Models Coming

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Hyundai announced that hybrid and all-electric versions of its new Ioniq compact sedan will be available in the U.S. soon. Marketing for the vehicles will begin in March with the vehicles expected to go on sale in September 2017.

“Our focus was on developing a great compact car that happens to be electrified,” says Mike O’Brien, vice president of product planning for Hyundai Motor America in a WardsAuto article. “There were around 1.1 million buyers who shopped for an EV last year, but because of cost or maintenance or durability—or that they felt the car was too underpowered—they didn’t buy one. We are offering a no-excuse electrified vehicle that measures up to compact vehicles in the segment.”

Hyundai plans to introduce several new green vehicle offerings in the coming years. By 2020, O’Brien says Hyundai will have five hybrids, four plug-in hybrids, four all-electric, and one fuel-cell vehicle on the market.

New Designs for VW’s Electric Vehicles

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Beginning with the 2020 production models, Volkswagen will be introducing a new design aesthetic. VW’s modern design will be featured in the automaker’s first car in its new family of battery-electric vehicles.

The automaker’s head of design, Klaus Bischoff, says in an Automotive News article that using battery packs allows VW to change the shape of its upcoming cars. The cars will have shorter hoods, longer wheelbases, short overhangs, larger passenger compartments, more-raked windshields, and be taller due to the power cells mounted on the bottom of the cars.

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Range is another aspect that VW is looking to improve upon with its new designs. By using a smaller hood, the automaker can use a windshield that is inclined at a steeper angle for better fluid dynamics. “To gain the travel distance – range is essential – we need to have outstanding drag coefficients, and this will also influence the shape of the cars quite a bit,” Bischoff said.

U-Cal Irvine Rolls Out Electric Buses

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Beginning this fall, the University of California Irvine will become the first college campus in the U.S. to switch its entire bus fleet to zero emission vehicles. To accomplish this, the university is purchasing 20 buses from BYD (Build Your Dreams), made at their facility in nearby Lancaster. The new buses will join a hydrogen fuel cell bus already in operation.

UCI students approved an additional $40 per-quarter-per-student fee to cover the bus purchase and startup costs. The fleet, known on campus as the Anteater Express shuttle service, is free for students to ride.

The electric buses are part of the University of California system’s pledge to emit net-zero carbon greenhouse gases from buildings and vehicles by 2025.

Clean Cities Success Stories Video

Motorweek.org features the Tulsa Area Clean Cities efforts to foster the development of a compressed natural gas for buses and garbage trucks. The more than 200 vehicles now running on CNG and being fueled at the state’s largest facility, replace 3,000 gallons of diesel that were previously used in their daily rounds. Additionally, because the fueling facility, its components, and the fuel itself were developed through local companies, the project continues to boost the local economy.




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Chevy Bolt and Chrysler Pacifica Win North American Car of the Year Awards

Chevy Bolt

Chevrolet’s Bolt EV and the new Chrysler Pacifica minivan—including its plug-in hybrid version—joined the Honda Ridgeline as winners of the North American Car, Utility Vehicle, and Truck of the Year, respectively.

Ford Announces Plans for a Mustang Hybrid Vehicle

Ford Mustang

Ford announced plans to make a hybrid version of the Mustang that will be powered by electric motors as well as a gasoline engine. The vehicle is planned for the 2020-model year.

General Motors Announces Expanded Alternative Fuel Fleet Options

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General Motors announced recently that its new lineup of heavy-duty diesel pickups will soon have natural gas, propane autogas, electric drive, and B20 capability. B20 fuel is a blend of 20-percent biodiesel and 80-percent conventional diesel, which helps lower carbon dioxide emissions and lessens dependence on petroleum. The announcement was made this month at the National Biodiesel Conference in San Diego.

East Baton Rouge Parish Schools Moves to Propane Autogas Buses to Go Green in Louisiana

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Gives Tips to Increase MPG While Driving




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The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium continued to recruit Odyssey event site hosts this month. Several organizations have already agreed to host Odyssey events in 2017.

If your business or organization is interested in hosting an Odyssey 2017 event, complete the online hosting form.

Participating Odyssey site hosts agree to hold an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) event on or around April 20, 2017, include Odyssey branding, and submit a list of post-event details to the NAFTC. In return, the Odyssey Team supports event hosts through marketing and promotional materials, informational handouts, and planning assistance.

The Odyssey Team goal is to recruit a minimum of 100 event hosts for the 2017 event.

Ronald Flowers of the Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition (GWRCCC) was the first site coordinator to sign up. GWRCC hosted the national kickoff event in 2014.

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GWRCCC Coordinator Ronald Flowers holds an award commemorating the hosting of the 2014 Odyssey kickoff event. Credit: NAFTC.

The NAFTC would like to recognize Mr. Flowers for his service to the Clean Cities Coalitions. He will retire in January of next year.

The national kickoff event helps to focus national media attention on Odyssey and the participating sites.

The 2014 event was held on the national mall. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar served as the Keynote Speaker.

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Credit: U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar (right) stands with NAFTC Director Bill Davis following the 2014 national kickoff event. Credit: NAFTC.

Currently, the NAFTC is in the process of selecting a location for the 2017 kickoff event. If your organization is interested in hosting the kickoff event, contact Judy Moore, NAFTC Assistant Director – Communication and Outreach.

The NAFTC plans to announce the kickoff event location early next year.




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In the past few weeks, the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium hosted a propane autogas training and branched out to promote alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) safety training to new audiences.
The NAFTC hosted a Propane Autogas Vehicle Technician Training on October 18-20 at Lawson State Community College, in partnership with Alabama Clean Fuels.

The training was the final session for this course in 2016 made possible through funding from the Propane Education and Research Council. Throughout the year, the NAFTC has hosted propane trainings in Fort Valley, GA: Oklahoma City, OK; Lebanon, OR; Asheville, NC; Lima, OH; New Hudson, MI; and this month in Bessemer, AL.

The propane autogas training gives automotive service technicians an in-depth look at servicing and maintaining propane-autogas-powered vehicles. The NAFTC launched the course to help fill a need for qualified technicians who can adapt, service, and maintain the alternative fuel systems.

The NAFTC has begun to promote the upcoming online AFV training for automotive recycling and towing and roadside assistance at industry conferences. The NAFTC hosted displays at two Baltimore conferences: the Automotive Recyclers’ Association Conference and Expo on October 26-29 and the American Towman Exposition, on November 18-20.

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NAFTC Director Bill Davis shows attendees at the Automotive Recyclers’ Association Conference and Expo cross sections of natural gas and hydrogen fuel cylinders. Credit: NAFTC.

Participants in the training will learn important practices needed to safely recycle, tow and provide roadside assistance services for AFVs. Training topics include key vehicle and fuel properties and characteristics, vehicle components, vehicle identification and recommended procedures.

NAFTC Director Bill Davis commented, “The new towing and automotive recycling materials will allow the NAFTC to reach new audiences that will certainly come into contact with AFVs through their work. With so many AFVs on roads today, it is a given that some of these vehicles will be involved in accidents or reach the end of their lifespan. Until recently not much thought was given to how towing companies and automotive recyclers would deal with these vehicles. The AFV training for automotive recycling and towing and roadside assistance will show these audiences proper safety procedures for working with AFVs.”

This training is currently in development and will be available in spring 2017.

In the next few weeks, the NAFTC will announce the spring 2017 training schedule. Check the NAFTC website for updates.




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National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium Director Bill Davis attended two conferences recently to provide West Virginians with information on the important roles alternative fuel vehicles will play in the future of the state.

The WV Department of Transportation and the Division of Highways hosted their Annual Transportation Planning Conference, a 3-day event supported by the Federal Highway Administration and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations for the purpose of covering a wide range of topics related to West Virginia’s highway and transportation future.

Davis presented at the event on Wednesday, September 21st hoping to inspire the committee to make considerations for a future highway system saturated with alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs).

With more than 1.5 million AFVs on the road today, and West Virginia highways including several major interstates, various infrastructure changes will need to occur statewide in order to meet that goal. Davis provided the Planning Committee insight into what changes will need to occur in the next 10 to 15 years.

“By 2025, the conventional fuel options typically offered at a service station won’t be enough,” Davis remarked. “West Virginia has seen a wide demand for up-and-coming fuel markets such as electric drive, propane autogas, and natural gas.”
Davis offered information about the technicalities of infrastructure changes that will need to occur in order to meet the changing demands of the state highway’s patrons. “This could mean ensuring that the electrical systems are powerful enough to support level II or level III charging stations, or developing systems to pump alternative fuels directly to the consumer,” he said.

According to Davis, the presentations resulted in a lively discussion, with a wide range of questions from the audience. This gave Davis the opportunity to dispel myths about alternative fuels. He also discussed innovations and the challenges various fuel infrastructure systems face, such as wireless charging systems for electric drive vehicles.

The NAFTC presentation was preceded by a presentation from Kelly Bragg, energy development specialist for the WV Division of Energy and the WV Clean State Program, on alternative fuel vehicles, and the WV Clean State Program, a U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities coalition.

Davis also attended the Governor’s Energy Summit, titled Tackling America’s Energy Challenges. Speakers and presenters from around the country discussed topics such as the state of coal in 2016, natural gas electric generation, and electric vehicle charging stations at WV state parks.

The Governor’s Energy Summit gathers together leaders in the state’s energy industry to share ideas and research on emerging energy technology and market factors. Alternative fuels are featured prominently alongside traditional fuels in the speaker line up.

During the event Director of the WV Division of Energy Jeff Herholdt was celebrated for his long career and accomplishments in the WV Division of Energy, who conduct the Energy Summit. He will retire at the end of this month.

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WV Division of Energy Director Jeff Herholdt and NAFTC Director Bill Davis are shown at the Governor’s Energy Summit. Credit: NAFTC.

“I am always happy to share the knowledge the NAFTC has to offer to our various partners around the nation. I hope the information I was able to provide will make things better for the future, because as we say at the NAFTC – together, we can make a difference,” said Davis.




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This past month was a very busy month of training for the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC).

The NAFTC held a Firefighter Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV) Safety Training Train-the-Trainer course on August 15 at the Jackson County Learning Center in Seymour, Indiana. The Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition hosted the event.

Leading the training was Chris Womack, NAFTC instructor-in-training, under the direction of Micheal Smyth, NAFTC assistant director–training and curriculum development. Womack showed participants how AFVs differ from conventionally fueled vehicles and proper procedures to implement when dealing with an accident involving an alternative fuel vehicle.

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NAFTC Instructor-in-Training Chris Womack discussing the electrical system of a Toyota Prius with Firefighter Safety Training for Alternative Fuels Vehicles participants. Credit: NAFTC.

Jeff Julian, NAFTC instructor, taught three First Responder Safety Train-the-Trainer courses for Firefighters, EMS workers and law enforcement across the south. On August 17 and 18, he traveled to Austin Community College in Austin, Texas. Then, on August 24 and 25 Julian taught the course at Oklahoma City Community College in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Finally, he traveled to Little Rock, Arkansas, to deliver the First Responder Safety Training at Pulaski Technical College Business and Industry Center. These trainings were hosted by the Lone Star Clean Fuels Alliance, Tulsa Clean Cities Coalition, and Arkansas Clean Cities Coalition, respectively, and funded through a U.S. Department of Energy grant managed by the North Central Texas Council of Governments and Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities Coalition.

Tulsa Area Clean Cities Energy Programs Specialist Daniel Jeffries commented, “Attendees who were at first skeptical of the course walked away better informed, excited about the materials, and were interested in letting their colleagues know that they should take the course in the future.”

The first responder trainings focused on tactics that firefighters, EMS workers, and law enforcement officers should follow in responding to an emergency involving an AFV.

Jeffries continued, “Our attendees came from all over the state, and each of them left more informed and better prepared in case of a collision involving an alternative fuel vehicle. They were excited to share what they learned with their colleagues.”

The NAFTC conducted another free Propane Autogas Vehicle Technician Training August 23 through 25, hosted by ICOM North America, at their New Hudson, Michigan facility. This class was the sixth in a series of trainings funded through the Propane Education and Research Council.

NAFTC National Instructor Mark Schmidt taught the class.

“These Propane Autogas classes are always fun to teach because the students are so involved. They work in groups to solve problems and then present their findings in front of the class. They are engaged in the material and it’s interesting to see how they learn to solve the problems we give them,” Schmidt commented.

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NAFTC National Instructor Mark Schmidt delivers an in-class lecture during the Propane Autogas Vehicle Technician Training. Credit: NAFTC.

Schmidt also taught the Compressed Natural Gas Fuel System Inspector Training. The class was held on September 7 and 8 at the Baton Rouge Community College Baton Rouge, Louisiana (hosted by Louisiana Clean Fuels) and again on September 15 and 16 at the NAFTC Headquarters in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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Training participants at Baton Rouge Community College gather around one of the CNG vehicles used in training. Credit: Louisiana Clean Fuels.

As the year winds down, the NAFTC has plans to conduct an Electric Drive Vehicle Automotive Technician Training and a final free Propane Autogas Vehicle Technician Training in 2016. For information about these or other upcoming trainings, visit the NAFTC Training Schedule.




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The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) attended ACT Expo 2016 May 2-5 in Long Beach, CA. During the event, NAFTC staff talked with leaders of the alternative fuel vehicle industry worldwide and provided information on NAFTC curricula and training.

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NAFTC Director Bill Davis speaks with an ACT Expo attendee about the NAFTC and its training. Credit: NAFTC.

ACT Expo is coordinated by Gladstein Neandross & Associates (GNA), a consulting firm specializing in market development for low emission and alternative fuel vehicle technologies and coinciding infrastructure. The NAFTC was once again an endorsing organization of this year’s ACT Expo.

Participants at the 2016 ACT Expo had the opportunity to network with other industry professionals and learn about the newest advancements in alternative fuel technologies and how they are being implemented.

“ACT has evolved into a major conference for alternative fuel vehicles. A large number of Clean Cities Coordinators are there, in addition to a major number of fleet personnel. If you’re interested in transportation other than crude oil derivatives, this is the place to go,” said Bill Davis, NAFTC Director.

During the conference the NAFTC hosted a seminar for Clean Cities Coordinators entitled, “AFV Safety Training: Serving New Audiences beyond First Responders.” This seminar was held in partnership with GNA and ACT Expo as partners in the AFV Curriculum Development & Outreach Initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

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This Zero-Emission Propulsion System Bus is one of many AFV technology advances displayed at this ACT Expo.

During the presentation, the NAFTC shared information about the AFV Curriculum Development & Outreach Initiative. The project will provide classroom and online safety training for additional underserved audiences including automotive recyclers; towing operators; collision repair personnel; and personnel responsible for fueling, repair, maintenance, and conversion facilities.

The presentation included information about the curricula being developed and how it can benefit Clean Cities Coalitions and their stakeholders, as well as how to cultivate relationships with the potential stakeholders and resources in order to attract and educate these new audiences.

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Members of the AFV Curriculum Development and Outreach Initiative Advisory Committee participated in the seminar presentation and panel discussion. Shown here are Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition Coordinator Kellie Walsh; NAFTC Director Bill Davis; Communications Specialist for the North Central Texas Council of Governments/Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities Kenny Bergstrom; East Bay Clean Cities Coalition Coordinator Richard Battersby; Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition Coordinator Mark Bentley; and NAFTC Assistant Director – Communication and Outreach Judy Moore. Credit: NAFTC.

“The NAFTC was proud to be able to explain the AFV Curriculum Development & Outreach Initiative goals and activities to the Clean Cities Coordinators and others interested in the project. We are developing support materials that we believe will be able to help reach these underserved audiences who need to first understand the need to be trained on alternative fuel vehicle technology,” said Judy Moore, NAFTC Assistant Director Communications and Outreach, and DOE Project Principal Investigator.

“The Advisory Committee for the project, made up of U.S. DOE Clean Cities coordinators, was instrumental in the guidance and development of the seminar presentation,” added Moore. The committee includes Mark Bentley, Alabama Clean Fuels Coalition; Pam Burns and Kenny Bergstrom, Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities; Richard Battersby, East Bay Clean Cities Coalition; Rita Ebert, Greater Long Island Clean Cities; Robin Erickson, Utah Clean Cities; Kelly Bragg, WV Clean State Program; and committee liaison, Kellie Walsh, Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition.




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National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium Instructor Mark Schmidt recently spent several weeks traveling across the country conducting NAFTC training sessions.

First, he conducted a Propane Autogas Vehicle Technician Training in Indianapolis, IN. The three-day training was hosted by the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition. The NAFTC recently launched the new propane autogas training at the consortium business meeting in February.

Greater Indiana Clean Cities Executive Director Kellie Walsh commented, “The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium’s 3-day propane mechanics training was exactly what members of the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition needed. Having successfully worked with many of our member fleets to deploy propane work trucks, and with our Indiana State Energy Office to offer competitive funds for schools to buy propane buses, I felt a responsibility to also offer a way for these fleets to bring their vehicle technicians up to speed quickly. Covering a wide range of autogas fuel systems, the training offered hands on and classroom training equipping them with the knowledge to confidently service and maintain their growing fleet of trucks and buses”.

After the successful Indiana training, it was next off to McFarland, CA to conduct a Compressed Natural Gas Fuel System Inspector course and the Electric Drive Vehicle Automotive Technician Training.

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Automotive Technicians in McFarland, CA study the components of an electric vehicle during the NAFTC Electric Drive Automotive Technician Training. Credit: NAFTC.

The city of McFarland hopes to utilize Ford F-150 natural gas trucks in their upcoming fleet purchase. In addition, the City hopes to utilize electric drive technology for indoor vehicle applications, due to the zero tailpipe emissions associated with electric drive.

“Cross-country” travel has some perks; McFarland, CA is home to the city featured in the film McFarland USA, based on a true story where a high-school athletic coach leads a group of students to be the best cross-country runners in the state. “There was a lot of pride in this small town in California.” Schmidt said.

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The McFarland, CA water tower showcases artwork depicting the CA state champion cross-country team. Credit: NAFTC.




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