Schools Training

Make Sure Your Auto Mechanic Training is Electric Car Ready

15 JAN 2013
Career Path : Automotive

As a vehicle choice, the electric car is still working on catching on with the everyday consumer. Even so, despite high price points and underdeveloped technology, constant efforts to go electric hint that people looking to become a mechanic will have to deal with more than the internal combustion engine in their future career.


Of course, all cars have an electric component. If you have ever experienced a flat car battery, you know the car can’t run without a spark. A key twist triggers literal ignition of gasoline vapors, a considerable improvement over the first hand crank spark plugs. But for much of the automobile’s history, messy, dirty gasoline power did everything else and the most the battery dealt with was headlights, a cigarette lighter and maybe a radio. Auto mechanic training was all about preparing you to get greasy with a wrench under the hood of the car.


But progress marches on, and as consumer electronics got more sophisticated, their features have been edging their way into the car. The radio became a tape deck, then a CD player and now a digital entertainment system, with flat screen televisions on the back of passenger seats and plug and play electronic music. Air conditioning became more than the car’s natural vents and the heating can even involve electric coils buried in the upholstery. Meanwhile the map has competition from an onboard GPS and even the least sophisticated cars have back lit dashes and blinking warning lights. A mechanic school has to teach servicing all this as a matter of course.


But for a full electric car, there’s two major challenges, first of all, a serious battery life issue, and secondly the need to get as an efficient result out of an electric system as the relatively explosive efforts of internal combustion. Whenever energy is transferred from one form or another some energy in inevitably lost. Gasoline engines rely on the pressure of combustions to turn turbines, basically the same technology in a steam engine and have been standard in part because the technology is very mature and there’s a good power to fuel ratio. The same results in electric cars are much harder to achieve, but recent decades have shown increasing efficiency in electrical models. Meanwhile battery life is being tackled from two directions. Car batteries are getting more reliable in the length they can keep a charge, simply by piggy backing on the sort of battery innovations you can find in a mobile phone. On the other hand, as engines get better at using what they have, less power is needed. With these hints of things to come, it is only sensible to spend some time on the electric car in your auto mechanic training.



Visit Canadian Automotive & Trucking Institute for more information on how to become a mechanic.