Here is what some automakers are doing in their technician education programs to address the switch to electrification.
How some automakers are preparing for the switch to EVs
In 2021, Ford will add web-based training modules on components and operation of battery-electric vehicles, plus an introduction to servicing high-voltage batteries as optional courses for students. Other high-voltage training modules will be added. Half of Ford's 38 tech training schools have hybrid vehicles in their shops, and all will soon get a C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid.
The automaker's technician training program offers two courses on electrical and electronic systems, and students who want additional training can take web-based courses available to dealership techs. GM expects to add more content on electrified vehicles as EVs become a bigger part of service departments' business.
"Over time, more electrification information will be part of our core curriculum," says Chris Wallace, technical training integration manager. "Right now, with the volume and mix that we have in the overall fleet of vehicles, it is more appropriate to give the core skill sets for working on a vehicle and how to do basic diagnostics. That lays the framework for teaching electrification."
A 12-week training course called START and dedicated to EVs is available at eight colleges that prepare advanced students to be technicians at Tesla service centers. Students who sign up commit to working for Tesla for two years and to be willing to move.
Toyota's Technician Training and Education Network will launch a hybrid vehicle training and certification course at five of its schools in March. The 30 other T-TEN schools will have it by mid-2022. Each school will receive safety, testing and training materials and a new Prius Prime. Joe Myers, technician development manager, says Toyota needs more techs trained to service the growing number of hybrid vehicles coming into its dealerships, and its regional training centers had backlogs of techs seeking training.
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