Green education comes to ARC

Automotive Tech student Vasily Bessonov works on an EV chassis that is part of the Alternative fuels program. The chassis is one of three that will arrive by the end of September.

American River College will be offering a new certificate program in hybrid and green technology during the fall 2015 semester called Alternative Fuels and Green Vehicle Technology, consisting of 26 units.

The courses will focus on training students on how to maintain and repair hybrid and electric vehicles, but will also highlight other basic automotive material.

One such course for this program is Automotive Technology (AT) 316, where students are provided an overview of existing fuels.

Other classes being offered are AT 309, an Introduction to Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technology course, which discusses operation of hybrid and electric vehicles as well as each of the cars’ manufacturers, AT 319, Electric Vehicle Construction, and AT 329, Advanced Hybrid and EV Technology, which covers in-depth hybrid and electric vehicle diagnosis and repair.

Students who take the 319 course will have the opportunity to turn a three-wheeled chassis into an EV car, and the school will have two more by the end of September.

The school is not planning to build any new buildings for the program as of this writing, citing a lack of funds.

“We would like to have our own building, but we don’t have funding right now, (but) we have a fleet of hybrid and electric vehicles, about 10 in total,” said technical education dean Gabriel Meehan.

These hybrid and electric vehicles are both new and used, purchased using money from grants gifted by the California Energy Commision. These vehicles include first, second, and third generation Priuses, Chevy Volt, and a Nissan Leaf.

Meehan also stated that no new professors will need to be hired, and that existing AT professors already have the necessary training to teach the classes.

According to the course instructors, the purpose of this program is to make students familiar with new fuel technology and to train the next generation of auto mechanics.

“There’s a lot of momentum in the (hybrid and electric vehicle) industry. Show (students) these cars aren’t going away, you show them the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards tell (students) they aren’t going to last long in the industry (if they reject hybrid or EV cars),” said Ben French, head instructor of the program. “You can’t always work on hot rods like you see on TV,” he continued.

The program will also prepare the student to pass the ASE Hybrid Exam that will take place in 2015.


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Kevin Sheridan
Kevin Sheridan is a fourth-semester student on the Current, where he serves as co-sports editor. He previously served as scene editor. Kevin is majoring in journalism and plans to transfer to Sacramento State.

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