As part of the curriculum of the Walla Walla Community College Automotive Repair Technology Program, our students research, diagnose and repair alternative fuel vehicles. Our students study the operation, diagnosis and repair of hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) Ethanol powered vehicles, propane, compressed natural gas and fuel cell vehicles. 


Our students receive hands on practice in the repair of hybrid vehicles, specifically the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic and Ford Escape as our program has access to these vehicles on a daily basis.  Our program also learns the specifics of the Toyota Plug-in Hybrid Prius. We are taking part in a study by the Idaho National Lab and Department of Energy Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity.  INL is testing a fleet of a 140 PHEVs that will feed data to INL and the Washington tests will offer a wealth of information.  The demonstration will test technology used to convert standard hybrids, monitor how the cars interact with the electrical grid, evaluate performance in real-world fleet applications and advance commercialization of plug in vehicles.


Our vehicle is equipped with an high-powered lithium ion auxiliary battery, cellular modem, GPS unit and a data-logger which will transmit data to INL for analysis. INL will analyze gasoline and electricity use, average top speed, miles driven and trips per charge, and charge timing and duration.  This study is to help to reduce the use of petroleum.


Our students benefit by learning how these vehicles work, how to diagnose when they don't work and to repair them when needed.   


For information:  contact Jim Haun, Department Chairman at WWCC Automotive Repair Technology program  509-527-4693


Links:  INL Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity  http://avt.inl.gov/


Plug In Center  http://www.plugincenter.com/


California Cars Initiative  http://www.calcars.org/


Washington Plug In Hybrid Demos  http://avt.inl.gov/pdf/phev/WA_PHEV_fact_sheet_12-15-08.pdf