Schools Training

New Trends in Mechanic Training: Demystifying the Electric Car

10 MAY 2012
Career Path : Automotive

Mechanic training is expanding to include information on the maintenance and production of electric vehicles. Here is a quick look at some of the concepts that students entering mechanic schools today may eventually have to master.

Types of electric vehicles

Students at mechanic colleges will have to learn about the different types of electric vehicles:

  • hybrid electric vehicles, which combine an electric motor with a conventional internal combustion engine
  • battery electric vehicles, which rely solely on an electric motor – no conventional internal combustion engines
  • plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which combine an electric motor with a conventional internal combustion engine, but that can only run on electric power for short stints
  • neighbourhood electric vehicles, which are battery powered vehicles that can only be used for lower speed limits, i.e., city driving, no highways. (As most students enrolled in mechanic training programs will already be aware, electric cars are, in general, slower to accelerate than their conventionally-powered counterparts.)

Parts of electric vehicles

Students at mechanic colleges will also have to familiarize themselves with electric systems. Mechanic training will include an explanation of the different parts that make up an electric vehicle, including:

  • battery
  • fuse
  • manual power switch – enables graduates of mechanic training to turn off the power in order to carry out repair work
  • shunt – enables graduates of mechanic colleges to measure how much energy is being channeled through the system
  • motor controller – determines how much of the car’s energy should be applied to the motor
  • throttle
  • key – just as in a conventional car, ignites the system

Particularities of electric vehicles

Even students of mechanic colleges who have no intention of specializing in electric vehicle production or repair will have to pick up some basic information on electric vehicles.

What kind of information might students in mechanic training have to learn?

  • that parts for electric cars can be more expensive than for conventional cars
  • electric cars have quieter engines than conventional cars
  • a car battery can usually be charged over night
  • some provinces, states and municipalities feature charging stations in commercial parking lots
  • electric cars have lower top speeds than their conventional counterparts
  • electric cars emit less CO2 than their conventional counterparts (even when adjusted for different sources of electricity)
  • electric cars require less frequent maintenance than their conventional counterparts (as students in mechanic training learn, they don’t require oil changes, but it is still necessary to rotates the tires, maintain the air conditioning, repair the brakes, etc.)

These are just some of the new concepts related to electric vehicles that mechanic schools can expect to be adding to their curriculums in the years to come.