Penn College faculty members among pioneers in EV instruction
As the automotive industry moves away from the internal combustion engine and toward the era of electric vehicles, Pennsylvania College of Technology has adapted its already-visionary curriculum and empowered faculty members to deliver that instruction.
Anticipating the needs of tomorrow’s technicians, Penn College initiated a Hybrid Vehicle one-credit class over a decade ago that covered the basics of electrification and safety. With the rapid expansion of the EV market, however, the college recognized a need to expand the course to a three-credit class with a lab component – Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology (AMT267), offered for the first time during the Fall 2023 semester.
Although all vehicle segments will experience changes due to the transition, the second-year electronics, heating & air conditioning, and drivability courses have additionally undergone transformation.
To ensure that the college is providing the best possible instruction, it sent two faculty members – Christopher J. Holley, assistant professor of automotive, and Charles F. Probst, the automotive instructor who teaches the new course – to a three-day EV Pro+ course in Lansdale. A six-week online preparation period, comprising hours of videos and related tests, was required to attend that in-person event.
“Having EV Pro+ certified instructors will position Penn College as an educational and training leader for a rapidly changing automotive industry,” said Steven P. Keen, assistant dean of transportation technologies. “Mr. Holley and Mr. Probst worked diligently to meet the requirements for a rigorous certification. We are excited to see the growth and success of our new EV course.”
Once at the class, instructor Mark Quarto – a former General Motors employee prominent in the development of that automaker’s hybrid and electric vehicles – dedicated a day and a half to reviewing multiple best practices devised by many governmental and private agencies. Additionally, an intense mathematical component was introduced as part of the instruction.
The second half of day two was devoted to the hands-on module of the course. Quarto discussed, demonstrated and tested safety technology, including high-voltage gloves and leather covers, insulation testing equipment, and troubleshooting techniques. After the overview, each participant practiced the newly learned techniques.
Day three was test day: a timed two-hour 103-question written exam, followed by a hands-on test with five stations.
Holley and Probst completed and passed both segments of the testing to become two of the first 100 individuals worldwide with an EV Pro+ level-one certification, and are listed as such on the Society of Automotive Engineers-Industry Technologies Consortia website. The Northwest Engineering and Vehicle Technology Exchange recognizes the accreditation, and the training is authorized by Probitas Authentication (a part of SAE-ITC).
The professional certification for Holley and Probst ensures that EV safety techniques will be taught and applied to Penn College students, and that lab space will be set up for safety and efficiency. Having faculty certified in the safety and instruction of EV products is an acknowledged selling point for the college, as is the availability of new vehicles on which students can learn.
Two 2023 all-electric vehicles from Blaise Alexander Hyundai in State College, a Hyundai Ioniq 5 and a Hyundai Kona, were recently added to the college’s fleet.
For more about Penn College’s automotive majors, call the School of Engineering Technologies at 570-327-4520.