Embracing green technology, the College of Southern Nevada is introducing its students to the auto technology behind eco-friendly hybrid vehicles, known as hybrid electric vehicles, or HEVs, ensuring its pupils are prepared for the mechanisms they will be maintaining in the future.
“Hybrids are the future of auto technology,” said Paul Pate, the director of transportation programs at the College of Southern Nevada. “It is very important for our students to learn about hybrids. These are the cars they will be working on in the future.”
The College of Southern Nevada has three main campuses in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson and offers more than 3,000 courses in more than 120 fields of study. The college is the largest higher education institution in the state of Nevada.
In an effort to teach students the latest in green transportation technology, the college has added a hybrid component to the degree program and four hybrids: a Toyota Prius, a Honda Civic, a Ford Escape and the latest addition — the Chevy Malibu.
The college is also offering a one-credit course this fall titled “Introduction to alternative fueled vehicles.” Call 651-4837 for additional details.
“Students need to know what to watch out for and diagnostic techniques on these vehicles,” Pate said “Knowing the difference of each vehicle is important.”
In addition to the buses, trucks and more traditional cars, hybrids provide students with a new learning experience.
“We’re trying to get enough vehicles so our students will be exposed to all the types,” Pate said.
Even though they have an internal combustion engine, working on a hybrid involves additional systems compared to conventional gas vehicles; hybrids run on electricity and gas, have complicated computing systems and many use different oil than regular cars. They also use different tires, and some have unique different braking systems. Students also need to learn special safety precautions for working on the electric components of these vehicles that can quite literally kill you.
“There is an extensive amount of information to be learned on hybrid electric vehicles and the components of the vehicle that are electric powered, as well as the safety issues in disconnecting an electric battery properly. We teach what can and can’t be done on a hybrid vehicle and the real safety issues for whoever touches a hybrid electric vehicle,” Pate said.
With our nation’s growing focus on renewable energy and sustainability, hybrid electric vehicles will certainly become more popular.
“In the next three to five years, there will be 25 models or more,” Pate added.
And college graduates from the automotive technology department will be sure to have the skills to repair them.