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How Germans Are Helping Pittsburgh Auto Techs Work on EVs

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(Seen on the Pittsburg Gazette)

According to Rachel Mauer, president of the European American Chamber of Commerce, Pittsburgh chapter,” We’ve heard from many dealers that they’re behind the ball on this.” They simply were n’t ready to have in-house technicians to service these vehicles, and the volume of electric vehicles is going to increase.

As energy vehicles become more popular across the United States, the Pittsburgh chapter is one organization stepping up to prepare both existing and potential automotive technicians. They are working with the Community College of Allegheny County to create an apprenticeship program for EV Automotive Technicians.

The program, which is available to those with prior electrical experience, aims to mimic the EV training model used in Germany, according to Ms. Mauer, who has been in charge of the electric vehicle charge since 2013.

She remarked,” We’re a little bit behind Germany.” How can technicians be trained for something that is about to happen and do it safely? Considering that we are discussing large voltage. Therefore, it’s not just a simple skill set; it requires extensive hands-on training, safety, and emphasis and is extremely challenging. Additionally, you do n’t want the dealers to work on a live electric vehicle when they’ve never done so, and they often do not have electric vehicles.

According to the International Energy Agency, sales of all electric vehicles across the country have more than tripled in the past three years, rising from 4 % in 2020 to 15 % in 2022. According to the IEA, sales are anticipated to increase through 2023, with over 2.3 million electric vehicles sold in the second quarter, or 25 % more than during the same time last year.

According to Jennifer Cowans, the executive director of the Chamber’s Pittsburgh chapter, technicians will learn the nuances of electronic vehicle servicing in a” European classroom” at the West Hills Center of CCAC.

According to officials, apprenticeship instructors visited Germany in August to receive training from local dealers, technicians, and union members as part of a” train the trainer” program. The Chamber and CCAC hosted a European Opel dealership owner and “automotive robotic meister” to offer insights in creating the EV program through BMBF, formerly the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, which is based in English.

According to Ms. Mauer,” we have a fantastic partnership that is truly supporting this transatlantic skills initiative.” which entails bringing some of the European apprenticeship programs around and assisting in their design and construction. The meister was really paid by the BMBF to visit. He is truly knowledgeable and has a great perspective.

Ms. Mauer stated that” many” will be involved but did not specify which neighborhood dealerships would collaborate with the apprenticeship program.

As demand grows, different mechanical programs in Pennsylvania have joined the EV bandwagon.

Steven Keen, the school’s associate dean of transportation technologies, wrote in an email to the Post-Gazette that Pennsylvania Technical College had an electric vehicle course after having numerous discussions with nearby dealerships, garage owners, state and college leaders, and other stakeholders.

We made the decision to assume a leadership role in preparing upcoming technicians for the expanding skill gap in the mechanical sector. Keen remarked. There are 10 hybrid electric vehicles in total, including six variant and four energy. As they advance through the program, all Pennsylvania College of Technology students studying mechanical technology will learn how to service electric vehicles.

Grants from the Department of Labor, according to Ms. Mauer, provide funding for the EV Automotive Technician apprenticeship program. Native groups like Pittsburgh Clean Cities and the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association offer further assistance.

According to Ms. Mauer,” We’re looking at summer 2024 to start enrolling apprentices into the program.” ” So, we’re getting close.” The European model has been quite effective at ensuring the safety of apprentices and imparting the necessary skill sets. even if it is n’t on par with what Germany wants to have in terms of scale.

Viktor Musil

Victor Musil, pen name for Edouard Py, advocates for inclusive, people-centered city development. His work underscores the importance of ethical considerations and equitable access, shaping the discourse on urban innovation worldwide.

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