Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The low level EV Technician

While processing the update on the Dagne motorcycle a thought resurfaced. One thing that's necessary for the EV Industry to take off is that there be trained low level EV technicians just as today there are a wide range of technicians for servicing oil burning vehicles. While electric vehicles tend to be very reliable they can and do break. Nothing is perfect and as the Buddha said everything in the manifest universe is impermanent. I think he really said the only permanence is impermanence. In practical terms this means your EV will break down and unless you want to learn how to repair it yourself this means having a local shop that can deal with it.

Obviously most people are too busy with their lives to learn how to maintain their EV. Obviously they'll do with their EV's as they've grown accustomed to doing with their gas car where they take it to Jiffy Lube every 3-5,000 miles and generally service shops do all the maintenance.

By way of example -- the lack of EV technicians is important enough that Auto Blog Green covered a technician job opening at Tesla Motors in a recent blog post.

Mid-Del Technology Center Electric Vehicle Center is a training center teaching electric vehicle repair including - Basic Electricity; Electric Vehicle Basic; Ground Support Equipment; Introduction to Hybrids; Hydrogen Fuel Cells; Hybrid Safety; Electric Vehicle; Non-road Vehicle Workshops

Advanced Transportation Technology & Energy Initiative (ATTEi) was established by the California Community College’s Economic and Workforce Development Program. In particular it was created as a means for keeping competitive as a national leader in advanced transportation technologies and to transform the workforce in the rapidly developing, technology-driven transportation industry, while improving the environment and stimulating the economy. This is not purely about electric vehicles but "alternative fueled vehicles".

I found a job description based in Sacramento for a Electronic / Battery Laboratory Test Technician where the job is to Provide Battery Test and Electric / Hybrid Vehicle Technician services for a ...automotive service supplier in the electric and hybrid vehicle industry.... is involved with new cutting edge battery and electric / hybrid vehicle technology, works closely with the top auto manufacturers on testing of future production battery prototypes, and performs repairs of existing electric and hybrid vehicle production vehicle systems. etc...

Skills and Knowledge

  • Electronics degree required (2 year degree minimum).
  • Previous electrical and diagnostic experience (2 years minimum). Previous electric vehicle, hybrid vehicle, fuel cell, battery testing or high voltage experience a plus.
  • Good hands-on skills and familiarity of a wide range of hand tools and electronic test equipment
  • Recent forklift certification and warehousing experience a plus.
  • Must be smart, analytical and be able to perform root cause / diagnostics on high voltage equipment with little or no guidance. Ability to follow procedures and work on tasks independently.
  • Excellent computer skills (Word, Excel and Outlook).

Qualifications include "...2. Ability to lift 50 lb. objects up to 100 times each day..." .. uh, can you say "Batteries"?

A job listing from http://www.nicecarcompany.co.uk/ in August says Don't worry if you don't have experience on hybrid or electric vehicles .. it's a plus but not essential as training will be provided.

Automotive Research and Design Company offers Hybrid Electric Vehicle Educational Tools & Training. They offer in-person training workshops, multimedia training on CD-ROM and the following 8-book set

  • Book 1 - Hybrid High Voltage Electrical Safety
  • Book 2 - Hybrid Battery Pack & Energy Management Systems
  • Book 3 - Hybrid Regenerative Braking & Climate Controls
  • Book 4 - Hybrid High Voltage Vehicle Safety Systems
  • Book 5 - Hybrid Electrical Machines
  • Book 6 - Hybrid Power Inverters
  • Book 7 - Hybrid dc-dc Converter Systems
  • Book 8 - Hybrid GM Flex Power PHT

The U.S. Department of Energy, Vehicle Technologies Program, Advanced Vehicle Testing page lists a slew of different tests for electric vehicles. This isn't directly about technicians but would give an idea what sort of things technicians would have to look at.

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