The world’s transition to electric vehicles (EVs) is happening at an unprecedented pace, creating a substantial demand for skilled technicians to maintain and repair these cutting-edge automobiles. As we strive to address this growing need, we checked-in with Jack Rosebro, an expert in electric and hybrid vehicle technology. He shares his valuable insights on training programs and his experiences in the automotive industry, highlighting the vital role of skilled technicians in shaping the future of transportation.
Q: You’ve developed award-winning hybrid/EV vehicle curricula and programs for colleges. Can you share some key highlights from your curriculum that make it stand out and valuable for students and technicians?
Jack: I think it’s the practicality of the material, which is built on shop experience, and validated through case studies. We also make sure to give the students room to be curious, and to ask as many questions as possible — we love questions and encourage them. We want them to retain what they have learned and apply it when they get back to their shops.
Q: Could you tell us about your involvement with professional organizations like the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and NASA? How have these experiences shaped your expertise in hybrid and electric vehicle technology?
Jack: I am not an engineer; however, I started working with SAE about fifteen years ago, teaching introductory courses on hybrid and EVs to engineers and managers from most of the OEMs, who were transitioning some employees out of conventional powertrain development and into roles that dealt with electrification. As for NASA, they had a particular problem with a prototype electric airplane that they were developing. I presented some background information on the way in which hybrids and EVs monitored their electric powertrains in the event of a fault between a high-voltage source and chassis ground.
Q: As the Head of EV/Hybrid Training at Earthling Automotive, what can participants expect to gain from your training courses? What sets Earthling Automotive’s training apart from other programs?
Jack: Our focus is on learning, the relevance of the learning, and retention of the knowledge that has been gained in our courses. That’s why we have small classes, primarily hands-on.
Q: Can you share some success stories or testimonials from individuals who have completed your training and how it has benefited their careers or businesses?
Jack: The most common success story is the simple fact that once we got a shop’s crew trained on hybrids, they didn’t have to turn hybrid customers away. We are already seeing similar stories play out with electric vehicles. One shop comes to mind: formerly a European specialty shop, they started to fix more Prius hybrids than European cars, and eventually transitioned toward the Toyota line in general. Easier to fix, easier to diagnose, larger customer base.
Q: How do you stay updated on the latest advancements in hybrid and electric vehicle technology, and how do you incorporate these updates into your training programs?
Jack: It helps to have a deep understanding of hybrid and electric vehicles in general before learning about new technology, and we have that. The best way for us is to study in the same way that we encourage our students to learn in our classes: hands-on with a car, an open mind, a scan tool, service information, wiring diagrams, and an oscilloscope. We do have to devote a large amount of time to maintaining our edge, but it’s so much fun that it doesn’t feel like work.
Q: What do you think are the most important skills and knowledge areas that mechanics and technicians need to excel in the rapidly evolving field of hybrid and electric vehicles?
Jack: Interest, a good attitude, and curiosity come first. When those traits are present, the technical stuff comes more easily. A strong foundation in electrical circuit diagnosis and repair is key, of course, and many traditional knowledge areas – brakes, suspension, air conditioning – are still quite relevant to an electric vehicle. After all, it’s still a car.
Q: What types of professionals should consider enrolling in your training courses? Are they suitable for both beginners and experienced automotive technicians?
Jack: Earthling offers courses, such our Electrical 1 and Hybrid/EV 1 courses, for the beginner, as well as more advanced classes, such as Tesla 1 and Hybrid/EV 2. We have more courses planned as demand grows, and we have a conversation with every student before they sign up, so that we can get a clear sense of what they need.
Q: Could you provide some information on the format and duration of your training courses at Earthling Automotive, as well as any upcoming opportunities for individuals interested in enrolling?
Jack: Most of our courses are two or three days in length. Attendance is limited to a maximum of four students per class to preserve the learning experience. We design the curriculum so that the course is hands-on as much as possible. Expect to be challenged in our classes.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring automotive technicians who are considering a career specializing in hybrid and electric vehicles?
Jack: Get used to reading, because reading service information thoroughly, whether you are learning about a system out of curiosity or working with a broken EV in your bay, is key. Work hard to build a solid foundation in electrical and electronic circuits. Become a master at understanding and evaluating electrical wiring diagrams. Find a mentor who has gone before you. Keep it fun.
Q: What is it about your role at Earthling Automotive that you find most fulfilling and exciting? What do you love most about being a part of this organization and providing training in hybrid and electric vehicles?
Jack: Having a front-row seat to the EV transition in the service sector, and getting to bring my students along for the ride. Working on a broad variety of electric vehicles as well as hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Seeing a student get that “a-ha moment” on their face when they realize that they now understand and can apply knowledge to something which used to vex them.
Q: Lastly, how can interested individuals get in touch with you or register for your training programs at Earthling Automotive?
Jack: Head to earthlingauto.com and look for links that mention training and/or education!