Some of the best recognized instructors in the field of hybrid and electric vehicles will soon be addressing traditional engineers for retraining classes. F
ord Motor Co. is partnering with the University of Detroit Mercy to achieve their goal of retraining 2,000 engineers over the next decade. The new alliance has developed a graduate-level curriculum focusing on disciplines such as power electronics, energy management and power flow.
Aside from this program, Ford will also be introducing other academic offerings and in-house classes.Ford, which was the first U.S. automaker to bring a hybrid to market, has announced plans to roll out a series of electric vehicles, beginning with a commercial van next year.
Derrick Kuzak, Ford's global product development chief, said that bringing electric vehicles into the mainstream has created "more challenges for engineers than any development since electronic engine control computers were introduced 15 years ago." Kuzak talked about the "very big change" and the different set of problems that engineers have to contend with.
Kuzak said that Ford is well-equipped to deal with the issues but the challenge is in "training enough people fast enough."
The University of Detroit Mercy has been working closely with Ford to develop classes to train students in these emerging technologies. Leo Hanifin, dean of the College of Engineering and Science, said a curriculum for experienced engineers was the next logical step.