OCCC Is More Ready For The New Era Of Electric Cars

The Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) automotive technology students are now more ready for the new era to come after receiving two electric cars from the City of Oklahoma City.

The donation of two 2012 Nissan Leafs helps open more opportunities for students to get their hands on the more advanced technology, especially electric cars.

“We have hybrid instructions, EV instructions in our classrooms but we didn’t have anything for the students to actually get out there and work on,” said Brad Walker, Department Chair and professor of automotive technology at OCCC. “All the vehicles that the students work on here have been donated by manufacturers, but since EV and Hybrid are still relatively new technology, a lot of donations like that haven’t started really [really] opening up.”

Data from the World Resources Institute suggests that a majority of people will be driving electric vehicles by 2028. The ability to get hands-on practice working with these cars will give OCCC students an advantage as they enter the job market.

This donation along with the new charging station on campus helps the school get ready for more advanced technology in the automotive industry.

2012 Nissan Leaf at OCCC, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Photo/Khai Huynh)

Although the school’s automotive program has been changing since to adapt to new waves of technology, there are still some difficulties that the faculties and students have to confront.

The biggest challenge is fitting new instructions into the existing program followed by the pressure on producing more qualified technicians to the workforce.

“We train a lot of city employees because the city has fleets of all types of alternative fuel vehicles, CNGs, and EVs,” said John Claybon, Dean of Business and Information Technology at OCCC.

Both CNG and EVs use alternative fuel sources to gasoline. CNG vehicles use natural gas while electric vehicles use electricity. Due to these differences, special certification is required for technicians to perform any services on these types of vehicles.

“In the state of Oklahoma, you have to be licensed to work on CNG vehicles or EV vehicles,” Walker said.

This is not the first time the school receives this type of donation from the city. The city has been donating the Leafs to the school since 2012 by using funds from the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments’ (ACOG) CLEAN AIR For Public Sector Fleet grants.