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Investing In Hybrid Automotive Training

  The entry of hybrid vehicles into the country almost five years ago had taken the local market by storm. The popularity of the fuel-efficient cars were evident by the
25 Aug 2018 10:00
Investing In Hybrid Automotive Training
A hybrid vehicle being inspected during a training class in Narere.

 

The entry of hybrid vehicles into the country almost five years ago had taken the local market by storm.

The popularity of the fuel-efficient cars were evident by the growing number of hybrid vehicles on the road each day, and such continues to be the trend amongst the Fijian population.

Here in our small island nation, hybrid is the most successful mass-market vehicle in demand.

It is reported that about 100 hybrid vehicles are registered with Land Transport Authority on weekly.

A driver would see many advantag­es in using such vehicle; less time is spent at service station, less envi­ronment impact on pollution, lower maintenance costs, and vehicle is proven to be fuel efficient.

A hybrid car features a small fuel-efficient gas engine combined with an electric motor that assists the en­gine when accelerating.

The electric motor is powered by batteries that recharge automati­cally while you drive.

But one needs to be mindful that the technical aspects of hybrid vehi­cles are different to the vehicles we have grown up driving and learning about.

Hence, created a demand for our mechanics and technicians to up­grade their knowledge and skills that will be applicable to hybrid ve­hicles.

With car dealers bringing them in by ship loads, most of the auto­motive mechanics and technicians had limited knowledge on working safely on these vehicles. There was a sudden need to upskill the local au­tomotive industry.

NTPC training courses on hybrid vehicles

The National Training & Produc­tivity Centre started providing tech­nical training on hybrid vehicles in 2016.

Our lead programme trainer re­ceived hands-on training on hybrid vehicles from Malaysia, after which, a series of discussions were led with the local industries on facilitating training for automobile mechanics and technicians.

A training package on Basic Knowledge on Hybrid Cars was pre­pared, and this consisted of a Lean­ers Guide, Assessment Guide and Trainer Guide for training partici­pants.

The first Hybrid training we con­ducted in 2016 was attended by tech­nicians from William and Gosling Group, Carpenters Motors, Niran­jan Auto, and Land Transport Au­thority. From 2016 to date we have trained more than 80 participants from the automotive industry and our regulatory body.

Our participants range from vehi­cle owners and drivers, fleet offic­ers, technical officers, emergency responders, sales and operations representatives, and anyone inter­ested in equipping themselves with the knowledge and skills in hybrid electric vehicle and its safety.

The growing number of partici­pants attending this training pro­gramme indicates the demand in the industry for technicians who can follow correct work procedure in conducting servicing and mainte­nance needs on hybrid vehicles.

Invest in the Hybrid training

Like any other electrical appliance we use, we need to understand the dos and don’ts of a hybrid vehicle to ensure it is safe for use.

For hybrid vehicles, this can only be done through proper training.

Hybrid electric vehicles uses high-voltage (HV) circuits that if touched with an unprotected hand could cause serious burns/injuries or even death.

Consumers are moving towards purchasing hybrid and electric ve­hicles because of less fuel consump­tion and less environmental pollu­tion.

This is what NTPC is working to­wards- to ensure our automotive technicians are trained and up to date with the latest technological and technical skills trend.

Over the last three years there have been reports of hybrid cars catching fire or exploding.

What the public needs to remember that these vehicles are equipped with a high-voltage system and a HV battery.

Most of the hybrid cars running on our roads are fully hybrid, which means the high voltage supplied from the battery and the generator runs the car.

Due to high voltage generation, tremendous amount of heat is pro­duced. And if the car’s cooling sys­tem is malfunctioning, this could cause fire.

Modifications to the electrical sys­tems could also be the cause of fire because the electrical system wir­ings are only designed to pass cer­tain amount of electricity and if the circuits are loaded due to modifica­tion sparks will occur.

To avoid fire, precautions should be taken when hybrid vehicle sys­tem shows faults or the fault check lamp is ON.

In such case it is recommended for repair- that you take your vehicles to trained technicians and do not allow any modification to electrical systems.

Training that meets industry needs

NTPC is equipped with the best training packages where an Auto Electrician will be confident enough to work on any hybrid vehicles.

We also tailor make training pack­ages to suite training needs.

Meanwhile, an insight into what is covered during the training are:

  • Working high voltages and the lev­els that are considered dangerous.

It must be assumed that current service personnel are not aware of the potential dangers of working with high voltage DC and AC power.

  • Wearing protective gloves, types and correct usage.

Rubber linesman’s gloves are rec­ommended for use when high volt­age is likely to be present.

They should be rated for a mini­mum of 1000 volts.

  • Use of vehicle scan tool to monitor live high voltage readings.

This ensures that there is a low voltage interface between the high voltage and the vehicle technician.

  • Manufacturer’s precautions need to be observed.
  • Training on vehicle shut down procedures. Correct shut down is re­quired as this will turn off the high voltage system.

Normal maintenance and repairs can then be carried out safely.

Hybrid vehicles that have not been shut down correctly can have the internal combustion engine start unexpectedly.

This could seriously hurt the re­pairer who may have their hands in the engine bay.

Why should you undertake training?

NTPC’s in-house trainings have also increased with industry stake­holders – LTA, Carpenters Motors, William and Gosling, Makan’s Drugs & Pharmaceutical Supplies, Credit Corporation Fiji Limited, Wheels Pacific, and Pacific Building Solutions Limited – to name a few.

This training programme is not only limited to mechanics and tech­nicians.

There has been a notable increase of interest shown by the general public including female drivers and owners towards NTPC trainings to gain an understanding of the ma­chine they are using.

It is always best to grow our knowl­edge of machines we use on a daily basis. For instance, the first re­sponders at a road accident involv­ing hybrid vehicles must know what safety measures they should under­take.

It is important they understand what to do and what not to do when hybrid cars meet an accident.

Also hybrid drivers need to know what to do met with an accident.

It must be taken as a serious note that hybrid vehicles carry high volt­age and the public must be trained on its safety aspect.

If you are unaware of the system­atics of a hybrid vehicle, it is best you not carry out any servicing or repair works, as it may cause inju­ries to the mechanic or technician. Upgrade your mechanical skills to match the technology that has sweeps our market currently.

Such will equip you with the con­fidence and skills needed to work around a hybrid.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

 



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