As more and more alternative fuel fleets enter onto our nation’s roadways, so, too, does the demand for vehicle maintenance technicians who are trained to service these vehicles.
Which takes me to a topic that I will speak about on a panel entitled ‘Why Workforce Development is Key to Success’ at the NTEA Work Truck Show on March 3.
Not since the days of Henry Ford has the technician’s job changed quite as much as it has with the development of alternative fuel vehicles. With each new vehicle technology, fleets must train their technicians to repair and maintain these vehicles, and training may vary based on vehicle type. With different states demanding different requirements for clean fuel technicians of alternative fuel vehicles, certification isn’t one-size-fits-all.
Even the most seasoned vehicle technicians need proper training before they can safely work on alternative fuel vehicles.
The good news is that alternative fuel vehicle maintenance can be simpler and easier than with conventionally fueled vehicles. Cleaner burning fuels can mean lack of carbon build up in the engine. There is often less maintenance required, extended intervals between required maintenance work, fewer fluids to change, and fewer moving parts.
Talk to your vehicle manufacturer. They should help you understand the maintenance requirements before you convert your fleet. Some companies, like ROUSH CleanTech, offer tools to teach experienced automotive technicians to service and repair its vehicles. These tools include web-based training programs, repair videos, onsite training, and toll-free hotlines.
You can also check out the Energy Department’s Alternative Fuel Data Center for maintenance and safety information on a variety of alt fuels.
Here’s your fuel for thought: For technicians to remain competitive and employable today, learning alternative fuel vehicle technology is essential and unavoidable. Are your service technicians trained on the technology?
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