When Ken Jefferson pops the hood on the 2009 Toyota Prius that recently was delivered, he sees an engine that looks a lot different from cars and trucks of yesteryear.
Jefferson, chair of Southeast Community College’s Automotive Technology program on the Lincoln Campus, is now able to introduce students to hybrid technology, thanks to the purchase of the Prius.
“Hybrid technology is one of the fastest growing segments in the automotive industry, with most manufacturers now offering vehicles with this combination of drive systems,” Jefferson said. “Students will learn how to safely diagnose and repair these high-tech systems.”
Jefferson and SCC Instructor Mark Jacobsen have attended training on hybrid vehicles in Ohio and California.
The bright red car, which has just 37,000 miles, arrived in late August. It is a gasoline/electric hybrid vehicle that is able to achieve high fuel mileage and clean emissions. It averages 50 miles per gallon of gas city and highway.
“We also picked this vehicle because it’s the most purchased hybrid right now,” Jefferson said.
SCC’s Ford Automotive Student Service Educational Training program on the Milford Campus trains students on an Escape hybrid. Both hybrid vehicles will be shuffled between campuses to train students.
“We’re hoping to add an optional quarter for students to learn about diesel technology in pickups and hybrid technology,” Jefferson said.
The Prius has a small-capacity gas tank and a 300-volt battery behind the rear seat. Since a high-voltage electrical component is a part of hybrids, Jefferson explained additional training opportunities for the vehicle, particularly when a hybrid has been involved in an accident.
“We’ll use it to train first responders in the College’s Fire Protection Technology program,” he said. “There’s 300 volts sitting there waiting to bite you if you don’t get things shut down properly before you start in with the Jaws of Life. We want to teach them how they can safely extricate a person without becoming a victim themselves.”
Jefferson also plans to train first responders in the Hallam Volunteer Fire Department.