by Kristy Hessman, October 31st, 2011
Students at the University of Colorado will soon be able to earn a master’s certificate in electric car drivetrain technology. The university’s Boulder and Colorado Springs faculty have announced the collaboration, with the help of a five-year, $954,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The program will not only train new engineers for careers in developing electrical vehicle (EV) technologies, but is also expected to help retrain thousands of engineers who lost jobs as the U.S. auto industry contracted. The courses will be available online and in traditional classroom settings.
“There are thousands of engineers who have either been displaced as the U.S. auto industry shifted or who have an interest in learning about creating vehicles of the future,” said Greg Plett, a professor in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at Colorado Springs. “This program offers them the opportunity to retrain without relocating.”
The courses will cover a wide range of electrical vehicle technologies such as: battery dynamics, battery controls, power electronics and detailed courses in adjustable alternating current drives. The university also plans to create options for students in master’s of science in electrical engineering programs to pursue specialization in fields such as battery controls and vehicle power electronics. Students are expected to be able to start registering for the courses by fall 2012.
Program head Plett has worked with a number of Colorado-based companies who manufacture batteries or their controls. Plett is working with engineers from General Motors on new methods for battery controls in future extended-range electric vehicles, beyond the Chevy Volt.