Kauai CC preparing auto mechanics for green future
Kauaʻi Community College is preparing its automotive students for the future. The college’s nationally certified automotive technology department is now offering a program in hybrid and electric vehicles.
“We need to prepare more and more of our technicians to get ready for this new trend of green technology,” said Kauaʻi CC automotive professor Gordon Talbo.
Student like Seth Launder, who is looking for a career path after finishing his high school education. “I always wanted to work on cars so since I feel this is where they are going with automotive technology, I do believe, I will probably be doing some sort of work like this in the future,” said Launder.
This program also benefits students who are already in the workforce but are looking for additional training, like diesel mechanic Dalton Thronas. He works for a company that is adding hybrid vehicles to its fleet.
“No one on the island is certified to do hybrid so I wanted to try and get some of the technology under my belt so I could help out,” said Thronas.
Hybrid and electric vehicles are a different animal compared to conventional gas powered vehicles.
“Totally different,” said Talbo. “We are working with a very high voltage, anywhere from 140 volts up to 600 volts on the vehicles.”
Three new courses in hybrid and electric vehicles have been added, and combined with the already existing automotive classes form the new Automotive Green Technology program.
The first hybrid and electric vehicles course starts with the basics.
“We are learning about how hybrid vehicles work,” said Launer. “We are also learning about the safety procedures for working on them.”
“In case of crashes or regular maintenance like oil changes and stuff like that,” added Thronas. “That’s where this class comes in and it teaches you those procedures.”
The second and third courses focus on maintaining the vehicles through preventive maintenance and repair and advanced diagnostics.
“There are a lot of advanced technologies with advanced electronics that students need to learn about also with the technicians,” said Talbo.
“The program is a lot of fun to learn actually how different technology and how different makes and models of vehicles and how they actually make their motors in different ways,” said Launder.
The students say the best thing about the Automotive Green Technology program is that it is available at Kauaʻi Community College.
“I was expecting it to be more so offered in universities but I was pleasantly surprised,” said Launder.
“It is here available for you, there is no comparison to how thankful I am that this program is here,” agreed Thronas.
“Initially, we train for the local community first but yet you can take this knowledge wherever you travel in the world,” said Talbo.