Staff from the Asset Management teams across Transdev John Holland Buses (TJHB) and Transdev NSW (TDNSW) swapped the workshop for the classroom to upskill in the field of Electric Vehicles (EVs) at Ultimo TAFE in late February.
The two-day pilot course, funded by the NSW Government, trains industry professionals in how to maintain electric vehicles safely – including how to de-power and reinitialise electric battery and hybrid vehicles to prepare for the future of electric transport.
Course Instructor and Head Teacher of AutoCel at Ultimo TAFE, Phillip Cuomo, said EV technology had changed dramatically in the past 10 years, with more manufacturers now getting on board.
“New EV sales in Denmark have already exceeded 50 per cent. Currently in Australia we are way behind that, but I predict that there will be a large increase in EV ownership from 2025 onwards,” Phillip said.
He added that the students were very motivated and enthusiastic about learning how technology was changing.
One of the course highlights for Phillip was once again teaching Harry Loakim, from Transdev NSW. Harry was one of Phillip’s first students when he was a new teacher some 20 years ago.
Key learnings from the course include awareness of risks and how to prevent injuries by preparing EVs for maintenance work. Procedures include keeping EV keys in a padlocked box six metres away from the vehicle, using signage to signify if high-voltage batteries are live or de-powered, wearing 1000-volt insulated gloves of internal cotton (and leather gloves over the top), plus ensuring there are no holes to allow for an electric current while conducting voltage checks. (This ensures there is no risk of voltage in the system before any work starts; once de-powered, then the gloves can come off.)
TJHB Leading Hand Gareth Ewing, from Waverley Depot, said the course was beneficial as it reinforced the importance of safety when working on EVs and zero emission buses.
Workshop 2IC at TDNSW Taren Point Depot, Mark Frater, agreed – adding that the training was also valuable to ensure the business kept moving with the times.
“These electric vehicles are coming, so the training’s important so we’re on the front foot,” Mark said.
This course will be rolled out for TJHB and TDNSW supervisors, mechanics, auto electricians and body repair staff. There are also plans to collaborate with TAFE for further funded training on servicing and repair of EVs.