Monday, August 19, 2013

Growing hybrid & EV car trend sparks new classes at HCC

With the ever-changing environment of the automotive industry, many more consumers are buying hybrid and electric cars– and for the people who fix those vehicles… learning how to repair them is becoming more of a priority.
“Its getting to the point where there are thousands of hybrid vehicles sold across America and across the country that we now have to kind of incorporate it into our curriculum,” Honolulu Community College instructor Noel Alcaron said.
Alcaron is one of several instructors at Honolulu Community College who attended a four-day workshop to learn about how hybrid and electric vehicles work.
“The EV vehicles are little more easy easier to understand because they took out the engine but the drawback is you have to plug-in the vehicle you have to make sure you charge it,” Alcaron said.
Honolulu Community College is the first school in the state to offer non-credit and credit courses in hybrid and electric vehicle maintenance.
The grant helped the college purchase two Nissan leafs and hire personnel to teach the courses.
“Having a regular automobile being real mechanical so the engine all the valves moving and then you have these hybrid electric vehicles they’re all electrical theory. Its going to be harder for the student because you can’t really see what’s happening” Honolulu Community College lecturer Will Snyder said.
The courses are designed to help experienced mechanics and people interested in getting into the field.
“Our training is designed to help the consumer, students even people just want to understand their vehicles,” Alcaron said.
“Whether you were laid off or like I said looking to get better in the field you’re in we’re the place that can help do that,” Honolulu Community College chancellor Erika Lacro said.
Once they have the curriculum in place HCC will serve as a starting off point for the neighbor island community colleges to offer it to their students.
“We’re looking at either folks that want to enter a new industry so being able to provide them that education or retooling within their current job,” Lacro said.
Classes begin September 26.