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Driving On Empty

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With the growing need to create more efficient, cost effective, high performance and environmentally friendly vehicles, the automotive industry is quickly transforming its reliance on fossil fuels to electricity. In the near future, electric drive vehicles will be as mainstream as a microwave oven because of their tremendous potential to lessen our dependence on gasoline and protect our environment from harmful emissions. As the automotive industry transforms, there will be an increased need for a new pipeline of automotive workers who have skills necessary for the advancement and maintenance of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. To meet future industry needs, engineers, automotive technicians and technologists must have education and experience in advanced automotive technologies. With no specific training and education programs in existence, automobile manufacturers are currently training electric drive vehicle engineers in-house, ultimately raising manufacturing costs and delaying product development and launch. Wayne State University is partnering with Macomb Community College and NextEnergy to meet this need through a new electric drive vehicle engineering program, known as E3 – Electrifying the Economy, Educating the Workforce. With the help of a $5 million U.S. Department of Energy grant funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the three partners will In Partnership With: build educational programs in support of President Barack Obama’s goal of having one million plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the road by 2015.