Investment in a new learning tool for Automotive Trades students at Ara shows the Institute is anticipating and adapting to new and emerging technology in the field. Students training as Electrical and Mechanical Automotive Engineers in Canterbury now have access to a hybrid car, exposing them to the swift technological developments in the industry.
Partly powered by an internal combustion engine, partly by electric motors, hybrid cars require less petrol than traditional motor vehicles. As such, these environmentally, and economically, friendly cars are becoming an increasingly common sustainable transport alternative.
While the current Automotive courses on offer at Ara focus predominantly on traditional motor vehicles, tutor David McBlain supports the Institute’s move to put students in the drivers’ seat of new, green technology. “As a college we’ve obviously got to adapt and keep up with the latest technology so that the students can actually see what is available and how the technology is actually developing for the future.”
McBlain as the proud owner of a full electric vehicle, has experienced the benefits first hand. His Toyata Prius runs entirely on electric charge so rising petrol prices don’t present a problem. Rather than pay for fuel, he plugs his car into charge each night. “My car is a short range vehicle and will do 120-130km on a single charge. I commute 100kms a day, so it’s enough for me to get in and out to work.”
Many may think that the high tech systems inside hybrid and electric vehicles would result in more complications than traditional petrol powered cars, however he disputes this. “When you look at the technology involved in an electric vehicle and under the bonnet, there is actually far less componentry to go wrong. There’s no gear box, it’s just a final drive. Engine losses are minimal. Acceleration is much superior. For me it’s a win-win. You’re losing less money, you’ve got less things to go wrong with it, and the performance is superseding standard cars already.”
McBlain, stresses the importance of equipping students for the rapidly developing market which they will enter into as graduates. “The technology is here now and it’s only a matter of time over the next couple of years, for the electric vehicles to become more prevalent in New Zealand and Australia. They’re coming now so the future mechanics need to be trained and ready.”
Ara is committed to leading in sustainability across the institute. Guided by the Sustainability Charter, Ara is embedding more sustainable practice and reviewing curriculum to reflect the latest sustainable best practice across all industries.