The popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) is making its mark in technical education. Across the country, states are standing up task forces to research and develop best practices for EV education, automotive programs are looking to add to their curriculum, and dealers and mechanic shops need technicians with basic EV skills.
The big question everyone is looking to answer: What’s the best way to teach EV?
In part 3 in our EV education series, we’re diving into the key differentiator in EV – electrical & electronic systems – and how automotive programs can deliver learning specifically focused on these concepts.
Earlier in this this series, we painted a picture of the opportunity automotive education has in 2023 – in this unique time where the EV forecast is strong, but the market has to overcome clear challenges before mass adoption. Take a look at part 1: Education Should Get Ahead of EV Market Before Mass Adoption for all the details.
It’s also important for automotive programs to leverage the curriculum and courses already in place. There’s enough overlap between EVs and ICEs that the content and training being delivered can easily be repurposed for EV certificates or degrees. Take a look at part 2: Looking to Teach Electric Vehicle Technology? Start With What You Already Have.
When it comes to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles versus EVs, the most significant difference is the powertrain. ICE vehicles use an engine, transmission, and fuel system to power the car, while EVs rely on batteries, electric motors, and controllers. This means that EVs have fewer mechanical components than ICE vehicles, but they have more electrical and electronic components. In ICE vehicles, the electrical system is relatively simple and mostly used for starting the engine, powering the lights and accessories, and charging the battery.
In contrast, EVs have complex electrical systems that control the battery, electric motor, charging, and regenerative braking. These systems require technicians to have specialized training and knowledge of high-voltage safety procedures, battery management systems, and electric motor operation. Additionally, the electrical power used in EVs is high-voltage and requires specialized training and safety procedures for technicians to learn.
Here’s the good news: the laws of electricity are the same in EV automotive as they are in automation, welding, electro-mechanical systems, advanced manufacturing, agri-tech, you name it. Even ICE vehicles rely on electrical & electronics systems for a number of applications.
Automotive instructors looking to teach EV should first leverage any electrical & electronics training resources already at their disposal. That might mean collaborating with other departments, like those mentioned above, who probably already have world-class training systems that focus on AC/DC electrical, circuits, electric relay control, motor control, drives and more.
Amatrol is a name familiar to many technical programs, across a wide range of disciplines. The company is known for their hands-on training systems for industrial technology, coupled with world-class curriculum and eLearning. Automotive instructors are likely to find Amatrol electrical trainers on campus in other program labs.
Amatrol is just one great example, but take a look at a range of training systems that cover electrical & electronics concepts that could be applied to EV coursework.
Basic electrical training can only take an automotive program so far when preparing technicians to work on electric vehicles. Technical schools should consider curriculum, eLearning and hands-on training systems designed specifically for EV applications. We recommend LJ Create‘s solutions. LJ Create is known for their robust automotive training systems, and now they’ve invested in specialized EV and hybrid eLearning and trainers.
All the EV electrical & electronics training systems featured below are accompanied by teacher resources, curriculum, and eLearning modules. The Hybrid & EV eLearning library consists of hundreds of lessons around concepts and technologies found in ultra-low emission vehicles.
Some of the main topic areas are:
This is a rare moment when the future of technology and skills is pretty clear, while the demand is not yet fully upon us. To prepare for the turnover of ICEs to EVs, automotive training programs should be taking action now.
Now is the time to request funding, plan lab space, rearrange curriculum, add courses, and adopt new technology. If education doesn't embrace EV now, we won't have the technicians we need to handle the mass adoption of EV in just a few years.
So what's next for education?
This is our second in a series of articles around how education can embrace hybrid and EV technology. We recommend taking a look at the rest of the series:
We have a wide selection of curriculum, eLearning, and hands-on training systems that teach learners hybrid and electric vehicle technology. Interested? Browse our selection of solutions.