Uxbridge College is pioneering the latest in high tech learning with its new training technologies for electric and hybrid car maintenance and repairs.
The college recently took delivery of a Mini Electric, which is being used hand in hand with its new state-of-the-art electric car simulator, the Car Train. Its EV (Electric Vehicle) courses will support the major shift towards the use of electric and hybrid vehicles, as the UK moves to end its contribution to global warming.
Full-time, part-time and Apprentice Motor Vehicle students will use the Car Train to gain the necessary skills to progress safely to working on the real car, with its high voltage electric systems. Amongst the Car Train’s features are real car parts including a life-size ignition and keys - which actually start the simulator - a real electric charging system and ‘hose’ tether charging lead, and a miniature drive shaft and wheels which turn. Its touch-screen monitor shows CGI imagery of the car dashboard, internal layout and other training diagrams.
Neil Benjamin-Miller, Head of Engineering - Technology and Innovation at Uxbridge College, part of the merged college group HCUC, said: “This is really exciting for both students and staff at the college and it is also an excellent opportunity for employers big and small to start upskilling their current staff to be able to work with electric cars too. This year’s figures show that nearly 7% of car sales are now electric or hybrid (ie BEV or PHEV), which is a massive increase year on year, and our training will cover mechanics to work on all the current models.
“Currently the vast majority of mechanics are qualified to work solely with combustion engines, with approximately just 5% of mechanics qualified and registered as TechSafe to work on electric vehicles. We want as many young people and adult learners as possible to be able to qualify to work with electric and hybrid vehicles, and it is fantastic to have this technology to make it so accessible and enjoyable.
“You might not think “intuitive and fun” are the first words you’d use to describe motor vehicle training technologies - but we think it definitely applies to the Car Train! We are also the only college in west London to have one.”
The Car Train is made by the German engineering firm Lucas Nuelle, and can be readily adapted to the configuration of the leading EV technology car brands. It is currently being used at Uxbridge College and will also be used at the West London Institute of Technology, also run under the HCUC banner.
EV courses at Uxbridge College are approved by the industry body the IMI (Institute of the Motor Industry) which develops skills benchmarks and qualifications and represents the UK industry nationally and globally.
Car Train EV accredited courses are run at Levels 1, 2 and 3 – starting with First Responder skills ie dealing with accidents – and progressing to maintenance and repairs. The college aims to introduce a Level 4 course which covers battery maintenance and repair from the Autumn.