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NAFTC trains technicians on electric drive and propane autogas vehicles as numbers grow

Morgantown, W.Va. — In January, Mark Schmidt, the  National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) national trainer, conducted the organization’s  Electric Drive Vehicle Automotive Technician Training course in Kenner, La.

The training, attended by 20 technicians at the City of Kenner’s facilities, was hosted by the  Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership and funded by the  North Central Texas Council of Governments through a grant from the  U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities. The five-day course helped participants understand electric drive vehicles and how they operate differently from conventionally fueled vehicles. Participants learned how to safely maintain all types of electric drive vehicles.

“The chemistry between all the participants in the electric drive class was terrific,” Schmidt says. “We had a mix of younger experience technicians and seasoned veterans that have seen it all—but were still willing to learn about electric drive vehicles. The support from the Clean Cities folks, Rebecca and Courtney, helped make this a superb training.”

Attendees at electric drive vehicle training in Kenner, La.

NAFTC Instructor Mark Schmidt (fourth from the left) poses with attendees of the Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership electric drive vehicle training in Kenner, La. Credit: NAFTC.

The number of electric drive vehicles is growing every year. Mandates such as the Federal Energy Policy Act require most large fleets to include alternative fuel vehicles in ever-growing numbers. In addition, many consumers have chosen electric drive vehicles.

In February, Schmidt returned to Kenner to teach NAFTC’s three-day  Propane Autogas Vehicle Technican Training course. Also funded by the North Central Texas Council of Governments through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities program, the training taught participants to safely service and maintain propane autogas vehicles. The class covered both liquid and vapor-injected propane autogas vehicle systems for both converted and factory-made propane autogas vehicles.

“We greatly appreciate the opportunity to partner with NAFTC to provide alternative fuel trainings for local mechanics. One of the first questions we get from fleets when we talk to them about alternative fuels is “Where can we have the vehicle serviced?” These trainings will help fill that gap and promote the use of cleaner transportation in the New Orleans region,” commented Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership Director Rebecca Otte.

“The overall reaction from participants has been overwhelmingly positive. It was great to be able to have access to such quality training that includes both classroom and hands-on learning. Mark did a wonderful job customizing the trainings to our participants. We’re also grateful to the Dallas-Fort Worth Clean Cities at NCTCOG for providing us with this opportunity through their “Filling Critical Gaps through Innovative Cradle-to-Grave Training” program,” she continued.

NAFTC training on electric drive vehicles

NAFTC Instructor Mark Schmidt (second from the left) instructs attendees at the Southeast Louisiana Clean Fuel Partnership electric drive vehicle training in Kenner, La. Credit: New Orleans Regional Planning Commission.

NAFTC Director Bill Davis traveled to northeast Ohio as a featured presenter at a January 27 Earth Day Coalition workshop. As part of their “Fuel for Thought” series, the workshop covered fleet applications using compressed natural gas (CNG).

“Working with Clean Cities Coalitions to provide fleet managers with information about alternative fuels is a key part of the NAFTC mission,” Davis says. “Compressed natural gas is one option for fleets, providing a clean alternative to gasoline or diesel in many applications. We were delighted to present at this workshop and participate in the question and answer period. The audience was extremely receptive and had excellent questions to help them understand the benefits of using an alternative fuel for their fleet applications.”

Davis and other presenters explored the environmental, economic and general benefits of CNG and renewable CNG for local fleet managers, industry representatives, and sustainability program managers. Devo Bavishi, who operates a fleet of CNG taxis and manages a Clean Energy CNG fueling station, provided information about the process of installing a CNG station, as well as the benefits and challenges of operating a CNG fleet.

Two additional workshops are planned, highlighting Propane Autogas and Electric Drive Vehicles. For additional information on the upcoming workshops click here.


CONTACT: Judy Moore; National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium
304.293.7882 or 304.669.4870;

About The NAFTC

The NAFTC was founded in 1992 and manages education and outreach programs and activities, develops curricula, and conducts training on subject matter related to alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. The NAFTC works with universities, community colleges and high schools around the country to develop training programs for dissemination at the local level.

The organization consists of approximately 50 National and Associate Training Centers that utilize its curricula and training materials. Numerous other members from small business, government, and industry also support the NAFTC’s mission. The NAFTC is a program of the  National Research Center for Coal and Energy at  West Virginia University.