VANCOUVER – Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), along with their electric vehicle (EV) counterparts, are considered the wave of the future to combat climate change on the roads. Thanks to forward thinking by Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) Automotive Service Technician program, students will now be able to learn how to service and repair FCEVs in addition to EVs and fossil fuel vehicles.
In an arrangement with Toyota Canada, VCC took possession of one of the first FCEVs made for the Canadian market – the Toyota Mirai. Toyota is a pioneer of FCEVs, having first started working on fuel cell technology development in the early 1990s. FCEVs are powered by mixing hydrogen with oxygen in the air which creates the electricity that powers the vehicle. The only by-product emitted by its tailpipe is water, making it a zero-emission alternative to vehicles powered by fossil fuels.
Hydrogen as a clean energy alternative is supported at both the federal and provincial levels. In particular, the Province of B.C. has outlined how it plans to support climate change goals through its B.C. Hydrogen Strategy. As part of this strategy, FCEV adoption, as well as creating new jobs in the clean tech sector, are priorities.
This is where VCC steps in.
VCC’s Automotive Service Technology program oversees one of the largest working garages in the province and more than 600 students have graduated in the last two years alone. In the program, students learn how to diagnose, test, and repair vehicles using the latest technology.
Moreover, in 2021, VCC also became the first academic member to join Hydrogen BC, the regional branch of the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (CHFCA).
Acquiring the Toyota Mirai is VCC’s next step in ensuring its automotive service technician students are learning the latest technology and graduating with the job-ready skills that employers are looking for.
The Honourable Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation:
“Hydrogen is a key fuel to help B.C.’s transition to cleaner energy solutions, as we work toward meeting our legislated 2030-2050 greenhouse gas reduction targets. Vancouver Community College is training students to service and repair fuel cell electric vehicles, preparing students for good jobs of the future, and taking significant step to fight climate change.”
Andrew Mercier, Parliamentary Secretary for Skills Training:
“Our government is making sure people in B.C. are learning the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow, helping our communities become more resilient and meeting our climate goals. This is excellent forward thinking shown by Vancouver Community College as we position students for success to land good-paying, long-term trades jobs.”
Stephen Beatty, Vice President, Corporate, Toyota Canada:
“We commend Vancouver Community College for having the foresight to provide B.C.’s future automotive service technicians with the training required to service the province’s growing fleet of hydrogen-powered FCEVs. As forward-thinking companies in BC continue to choose to decarbonize their high-use vehicle fleets with FCEVs like the Toyota Mirai, it’s vital that our dealerships have access to future technicians with the knowledge and experience required to service them.”
Ajay Patel, President and CEO, VCC:
“VCC seeks to be a leader in environmental stewardship, whether that is by ensuring our campuses have the infrastructure in place to meet sustainability goals or by providing ethical and modern learning opportunities for our students. We also know that according to B.C.’s Labour Market Outlook, auto service technicians are expected to be one of the most in-demand trades occupations in the province. It is essential that we work collaboratively with industry and government to align our programming so that VCC students receive the best training for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”
Lucy Griffith, Acting Dean, School of Trades, Technology, and Design, VCC:
“As FCEVs become more commonplace on the road, these vehicles will need to be serviced and repaired. VCC’s goal is to meet and adapt to the evolving needs of industry and consumers by ensuring students receive the most up-to-date training on current technologies. Starting in the fall term, students will be able to learn how FCEV technology works as part of our updated core curriculum in the Automotive Service Technician program.”
Learn more about VCC's Automotive Service Technology Diploma at an upcoming info session. Questions about how to apply? Check our website for details, or book a one-on-one international advising session.