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NAFTC launches new training program for new technology vehicles

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The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium, a program of West Virginia University, is launching a newly developed Electric Drive Vehicle Automotive Technician Training program to help bring information to automotive instructors across the country.

The NAFTC will debut its Electric Drive Vehicle Automotive Technician Training course at the San Jacinto College Transportation Center in La Porte, Texas, Feb. 11-15. Automotive instructors and administrators from NAFTC National and Associate Training Centers from across the country are scheduled to attend 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."

The NAFTC member schools attending this course can then conduct 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 initiative designed to educate various groups about their roles in preparing America for alternative transportation, specifically advanced electric drive.

"Participants will learn the fundamentals, system design, diagnostic applications and special service topics for the electric vehicles in the classroom," Davis said. "They will then take this knowledge to the lab and shop where they will perform 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 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."

The course instructs 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.

Course objectives include 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 will emphasize the importance of adhering to appropriate and necessary safety measures for each type of vehicle. The course will also explain auxiliary systems required by alternative power trains, such as electric power steering and electric air conditioning compressors.