NEVTEX - Tesla START - Rio Hondo College - Whittier California
I'm fortunate to have been invited to join as an advisor to the Northwest Engineering and Vehicle Technology Exchange (NEVTEX) and since we've just completed our first annual meeting at Rio Hondo College in Whittier California on Saturday, May 19, 2018, and I'm here to share. The event was hosted by John Frala an instructor at Rio Hondo. The National Science Foundation awarded grant 1700708 to NEVTEX during the summer of 2017. The participants in this group are from various segments of the industry including public transportation, fleets, SAE, service technicians, and others and I can say that it was an absolute honor to be among this group.
Here is the abstract describing the purpose of the NEVTEX Grant:
The West Coast region of the United States has demonstrated significant business development and political commitment to the emerging electric drive industry, which includes electric and hybrid electric vehicles (EV/HEV) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Worldwide, the market is growing steadily, with Japan leading the way and the United States coming in second. Oregon, Washington and California report nearly one-third of all EV/HEV ownership in the United States. There is wide recognition that current automotive training programs for students and technicians need to be dramatically redesigned to guarantee mastery of these emerging, advanced vehicle systems. The investigative team of this ATE project will address this need by working with selected automotive industry and community college partners to create a standardized approach for training and certifying electric drive technicians. Once completed, the proposed training standards will serve to spearhead a process with the long-term goal of instituting a licensing process for these highly skilled workers who are working with high voltage and high-pressure gaseous fuels. The project team will develop and implement outreach activities aimed at increasing the enrollment of underrepresented groups, including women, Latinos, and Native Americans, in automotive technology programs and career pathways at community colleges. Emphasis will be placed on disseminating and sharing all products and outcomes at national meetings and through a website that will be developed to highlight this project.
The project will identify training categories for electric drive vehicle maintenance and safety. A template will be created for each training category that defines the associated training activities. The overall goal being to develop standardized training for electric drive technicians. Simultaneously, the investigative team will work with content area and industry experts to develop a method to validate skills acquisition. Digital badges will be considered as one way to credential learner outcomes. The training standards and credentialing system will be vetted by industry and educator team members and upon approval, the standards and credentialing system will be tested at 10 businesses and 20 community colleges. Outcomes and training materials will be shared regionally and nationally with appropriate organizations and stakeholders. Once a framework for training and credentialing has been validated by these organizations, the investigative team will meet with governmental agencies in the Western States to discuss the institutionalizing of licensing procedures for electric drive technicians. In the United States, there is currently no standardized credential or licensure requirement for technicians who work with high voltage systems and high-pressure gaseous fuels. As a point of comparison, technicians who work with commercial or residential high voltage or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems must be licensed by each State. The same must also be done for EV/HEV technician who work with high voltage systems and high-pressure gaseous fuels.
John Frala also provided us with a tour of his facility and was proud to show off his recent achievement as that was to secure the Tesla START (Student Automotive Technician Program) at Rio Hondo college. This is one of two programs currently being offered through community colleges in the US.
I was impressed with the mount of alternative energy vehicle programs being taught at Rio Hondo and since they're not too far from where I reside, I plan on visiting again real soon. Here are a few images I took while we were on a short tour of the facility.
If you have any questions about any of this please let me know.
Ps, the last image with the EV shepherd's hook is of James Avery (who's retired but still works part time at Stingray Chevrolet in Tampa Bay, FL) attempted to be fully pulled into retirement by his daughter who accompanied him at the event. 😉
Scott, excellent post! As a HEV/EV specialist myself I'll echo the need for more quality training and licensure for high voltage systems. Do you know of any similar group on the east coast/northeast? The Eaton tool pictured: is that for testing a EV charger after installation?
Hi Matthew, Thanks for the feedback. As for any groups up in the NE, I'm not aware of any but you might want to reach out to this group and see if they can provide any guidance. There's contact info for Ken Mays in the grant link I provided in my original message. On the Eaton tool, yes this is a J1772 L1/L2 test box used for troubleshooting chargers. The infrastructure is part of the equation
I wouldn't plug that thing into my Leaf! I'm going to start looking more closely at the public charger connections
Mr Scott, So this is a question from up in the north, (at least in comparison to you). The licence and standardization, will these requirements become standardized globally? wondering what it will look like for Canadian technicians? And how far out do you see an enforced law requiring proper license to work on those systems? I am not asking to push back on it but rather embrace it and try to get
Hi Maynard, We have nearly zero standards here and it’s troubling. In some countries you must be a licensed electrician if the voltage potential is >50v (Netherlands). In Australia, you must have a license to work on a vehicle and a separate electricians license if you work on electrical systems. In my opinion, I believe that we (industry) should step up and take control before we have an
Sounds good, Now you will probably have to double or even triple the pay in order to get enough new blood into the repair portion of an industry that appears to be quickly going away. Manufactures have cut pay so low that is makes no sense for anyone to get involved with the repair end of automobiles. If wages go back up to where they should be who exactly will be able to afford to have
Hi Paul, "Shops do not seem to want to pay qualified techs today, you really think once they have more certs under their belt they are gonna be paid more? Really?" What if the cert was required in order to perform the service? What if the cert required proof of proficiency? What if the shop had minimums it had to meet? In CA all you need is a check for $200 and you get an ARD (Auto Repair
Send me a sample, I should probably buy in :) Paul
But seriously, what about the issues taised?
I would get a cert if it was required. I do not think it will help the industry. Your adding one more thing these under paid tech's have to get on top of all their tools, education, etc to make a low wage. Fix the income issue, get new blood looking at this industry as a good career, once there are qualified tech's filling these shops again. Then require them to get a cert. Putting another
Paul, This is a much bigger project than just creating a new cert level. This is about creating a real and viable career, one that is rewarding and requires industry-established minimums. You cannot have one without the other. OE's already know (at least some do) that their current programs are not sustainable. But this isn't just about the OE's as in the US, and elsewhere, the majority of the
Sounds like a great event! I am sure a lot of learning took place. I agree with Paul, the certs will mean little, even if required and not just voluntary. I have been waiting since 1972 for all these "changes" to take place. Tech pay and benefits have not kept up, and as the current crop leaves, there is nothing to attract young new talent. Until the shops that race to the bottom fail out of
Wow wish I could have attended that!! Frala is the 'nutty professor' type. Love that guy! He was one of my automotive instructors at Rio Honda many moons ago!! Definitely brilliant.
Hi Scott. It was good catching up with you on the weekend. It has finally come to pass that standards do need to be developed for technicians working on vehicles where high voltages, gaseous fuels and similar risk-posing hazards exist. Our institute recently received a grant with similar goals in mind. I wasn't directly involved, so am not aware of all of the details, but there were and are
Hi Martin, It was great to chat with you but more importantly, placing an accent and a face to your name was the most important part. I hope to someday very soon come to visit and check out your program, I can "read-between-the-lines" and tell that you run a 1st class operation. Additionally, I'd love to talk with you more about what we have planned for Diagnostic Network and could use your
Accent? What accent? LOL. Okay, I do have a "slight" accent and its a "mongrel" Anglo Canadian! You and everyone else wouldn't understand my natural "Brummie" accent. We probably met in passing back at the 2001 conference in Detroit, but we were all very busy and bouncing around. You know, my first impression of the images that you posted was that the was more grey or white hair or no hair
Thanks Martin, I do vaguely remember the Detroit meeting, it was a very busy time. Agreed on the on the fact that this has to be a real and rewarding career, otherwise, why bother. Those real and serious issues are on the table for the NEVTEX group and others as well. Thanks for your continued dedication and support for the industry!
Hey Scot, I wanted to add this picture I took from the Auto Show in New York in regards of the picture of the Toyota with the fuel cell. Thanks for providing information and pictures of your experienc.