For Auto Tech students, hybrid car is a step forward in training for an all-electric industry

New York Power Authority donation arrives over holiday break

 teacher shows students under car hood    The Automotive Technology program at Southern Westchester BOCES’ Career Services campus recently received a donation of a 2016 Subaru Crosstrek hybrid vehicle that students will use as a learning tool in their classes. 

The New York Power Authority donated the car as part of its Fleet Donation Program, a statewide investment in the training of future technicians to repair and maintain the growing number of hybrid and electric vehicles on the roads. In the fall, NYPA announced the donation of 13 vehicles in an initiative to enable young people in underserved communities to explore careers associated with the increasing electrification of vehicles in New York State.  

Principal Evangelo Michas accepted the generous donation, which was delivered Dec. 27. 

“We have heard directly from our industry partners that there is a growing need for skilled technicians with training in hybrid and electric vehicle technology,” Mr. Michas said. “Car makers are producing more of these vehicles than ever, and we are committed to providing our students with the skills required to excel and advance in this evolving field. This donation by NYPA helps greatly in that regard.”

principal and agency rep at vehicle delivery

Plans are underway for a collaboration with SWBOCES’ Commercial Art and Collision Technology programs to design and apply a vehicle wrap that reflects the car’s NYPA origins.

Students in instructor Peter Schwartzott’s class had a chance to kick the tires, so to speak, and look under the hood. They were impressed with its condition and eager to learn to keep it in top running condition. The white hatchback has fewer than 100,000 miles

“These cars are going to be the future,” said student Luis Diaz from New Rochelle. “This way we get more knowledge about hybrids and eventually electric vehicles as well.”

Classmate Said Mayorga from Rye Neck agreed. “I think it’s really valuable because the next step in automotive is electric vehicles,” he said. “States like California have passed bans on internal combustion engines. This is definitely a valuable learning experience.”

Student behind wheel of donated car

New York adopted legislation in September advancing the transition to electric vehicles with the goal for all new passenger cars and trucks sold in the state to be zero-emissions by 2035.

Mr. Schwartzott said that even though hybrids are not new, they are a stepping stone in the shift toward fully electric vehicles replacing gas-fueled ones.

“Everything is going that way,” he said. “It’s going to happen, so you need to embrace it and prepare yourself.”

That said, he added, a car is a car, and many of the components and systems — drivetrains, suspensions, steering — are the same, regardless of the type of engine. That creates plenty of learning opportunities. 

“What’s most important for us is to have our students understand the safety requirements when it comes to these cars because electric vehicle manufacturing is very different,” he said.

teacher shows students trunk of car

Those differences require dealership service centers to have certified specialists for each make and model, Mr. Schwartzott said. That specialization, in turn, bodes well for those technicians whose skills will be ever more valuable in the job market.

“On behalf of Southern Westchester BOCES and our Center for Career Services, I would like to express my appreciation to the New York Power Authority for this generous donation,” District Superintendent Dr. Harold A. Coles said. “This vehicle will further enhance and improve our already leading edge automotive curriculum, which allows us to provide students with the training and skills that are in demand by employers today and into the future.” 

​​“New York State is moving to cleaner transportation and that transition brings with it new clean energy job opportunities,” said NYPA Acting President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll. “The New York Power Authority is pleased to be able to support Southern Westchester BOCES’ maintenance and repair programs. We are glad to play a role in ensuring that energy-related workforce programs are current and relevant, and students have the tools they need to develop the skills that will be required in a future powered by zero-emissions vehicles.”