Students study hybrids and electric cars in UCM automotive program

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WARRENSBURG, Mo. -- With more drivers buying hybrids and electric vehicles, the need for experts to maintain and repair these vehicles is growing.

The Department of Automotive Technology Management at the University of Central Missouri changed its course study to keep up with the new technology.

"They actually get to do some trouble shooting and functional tests and things like that with the car," said Jack Ireland, an instructor in the UCM Automotive Technology Dept.

Automotive instructors and students at UCM run tests on an electric truck, courtesy of Smith Electric. Students check diagnostics, research and even build a hybrid car in the classroom, which gives them hands-on opportunities.

Some students of the program believe they have an edge over graduates from other schools because UCM worked with Smith Electric for a partnership to give students new opportunities.

"The future is electric hybrid propulsion and that's one thing this school is geared towards," said Bobbie Bradley, who was a junior at UCM.

"This is a development vehicle so it helps us in our research and development for future trucks current trucks," said Matt Smith, with Smith Electric. "We've had opportunities we wouldn't have had without them and vice versa."

The university offers a four-year degree program but students can also get a certification if they are simply interested in learning more about the new automotive technology.

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