A new EIT programme, which starts on Monday, 2 August, this year, has been designed to give automotive technicians the skills required to repair a future fleet of electric vehicles.

EIT Electric Vehicle programme

EIT will become the second Polytechnic after Otago to offer the New Zealand Certificate in Electric Vehicle Automotive Engineering
(Level 5).

Programme Co-ordinator Miles Gregory says the one-year part-time programme is aimed at technicians who have completed an Automotive Engineering Qualification at Level 4 (or equivalent skills and knowledge).

“It’s really targeted quite specifically for people who are actually working in the industry or have been working in the industry. It covers in-depth knowledge and skills so the graduate can safely and accurately diagnose and repair multiple electric vehicle systems.”

“To be fair, there is a huge slant on electronics, so you’ve got to have worked in the industry for quite some time to understand the underpinning knowledge.”

Courses include Battery Systems, Drive Systems, High Voltage Auxiliary Systems, and Automotive Management.

Miles says there is a “huge need” for the programme because of the number of electric vehicles coming into the country and there not being many technicians trained to fix them.

There is also an online component and students from all around the North Island, including Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti are encouraged to enrol. This will complement the programme that Otago Polytechnic has been running to service the South Island industry for two years.

Miles says the programme, which is essentially helping create a new workforce, is designed to incorporate different brands of electric vehicles.

Three EIT tutors, Steve Main (Tairāwhiti Campus), Brett Cranswick and Scott Cunningham (Both Hawke’s Bay Campus), will teach the programme and have all recently achieved the qualification themselves through Otago Polytechnic.

Steve Main will teach the theory component online in weekly night classes, while all three will run the three block courses of practical content.

“While the industry debates the sustainability of EV and Hybrid vehicles, one thing is certain there are now a significant number (nearly 30,000) of these vehicles on NZ roads,” says Steve.

“These vehicles are requiring repair and in order to undertake this in a safe manner, technicians must possess a robust, comprehensive knowledge of electrical and electronic principles.”

“I believe Otago Polytechnic and EIT are providing the most comprehensive EV/Hybrid training programme currently on offer in NZ. Repair centres around NZ that are contemplating or are undertaking repairs on these vehicle types, need to be enrolling staff on a programme like this.”

Miles says a Google-based product is used for the online delivery and all classes will be recorded so that students can refer back to them.

For the practical component, EIT have two electric training vehicles and two hybrid training vehicles – one of each in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.

“ In addition, we have purchased another electric and hybrid vehicle to completely disassemble. These will be used to teach diagnosis and repair on battery, drive, and high voltage auxiliary systems.”

Miles said there is a keen interest for the programme, and he encouraged people to sign up for this next level in EIT’s automotive programmes.

“Our programmes are staircased to cater for the fundamentals in basic servicing maintenance to qualified mechanics and then through to this.”

People wishing to enrol in the New Zealand Certificate in Electric Vehicle Automotive Engineering (Level 5) Programme and any other programmes should visit EIT’s website https://www.eit.ac.nz/.

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