WCC leads next-generation electric vehicle workforce preparation with new Mustang Mach-E

Students will learn product functions and diagnostic service on automotive electric batteries, motors and powertrain controls, sensors, cybersecurity of automotive infotainment systems, and additive manufacturing processes for vehicle components of the future.

ANN ARBOR, Michigan (July 22, 2021) – Washtenaw Community College has added a 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E to its bank of cutting-edge technology, solidifying its leadership in preparing the workforce of the future.

WCC’s new asset, just named “Electric Vehicle of the Year” by Car and Driver magazine (July/August 2021), was purchased with State of Michigan Perkins Funding. It will be incorporated into WCC’s Advanced Transportation Center, established in 2014 with a $10 million investment to train students and meet the needs of the transportation and mobility manufacturing industries.

The Mach-E will provide hands-on cross functional learning opportunities for next-generation electric vehicle (EV) jobs, including evaluating functional performance and driving range; diagnostics and servicing EV batteries, motors and powertrain controls, sensors and battery charging performance; cybersecurity coding to protect driver privacy and vehicle infotainment systems; and exploring additive manufacturing processes for select components to provide light weighting recommendations that will impact driving range.

The college is coordinating the vehicle’s purpose with activities of the Center for Connected and Automated Transportation (CCAT), a consortium of five Midwestern universities for research and product development on connected and automated vehicles. WCC is the only community college participating in CCAT with the University of Michigan, Purdue University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Akron and Central State University.

Sales of electric vehicles are surging, creating demand for specialized talent.

A recent Ford Motor Co. report said sales of its electrified vehicles expanded 117% in June, and the Federal government is calling for a national network of 500,000 EV charging stations by 2030.

“We are thrilled to have one of the newest electric battery vehicles to train our students for the jobs of tomorrow. At any given time, we have an average of 1,000 students enrolled in our mobility-related courses, and this is a big step in our commitment to prepare highly skilled workers and fill a much-needed talent gap,” WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca said.

The college will debut its Mach-E at this year’s Motor Bella Automobili-D Days in September at the M1 Concourse in Pontiac. Motor Bella is this year’s bridge event for the North American International Auto Show usually held in Detroit.

WCC’s Transportation Technologies and Cybersecurity faculty members are enhancing academic programs around the new Mach-E and will demonstrate a cybersecurity mobile hacking workbench at its interactive Motor Bella booth on Sept. 21-22.

WCC recently expanded and upgraded its Automotive Cybersecurity Lab, which includes 12 new Umlaut workbenches identical to those in the automotive industry to train students in engineering and cybersecurity related to a vehicles’ internal network and infotainment system.

In 2020 the college was designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education through the National Security Agency.

About Washtenaw Community College

Washtenaw Community College (WCC), Ann Arbor, Mich., educates more than 21,000 students each year through a wide range of associate and certificate programs, emphasizing workforce development and career educational areas such as health care, advanced transportation and mobility, STEM and business and entrepreneurship. WCC is committed to student success, with nearly 70% of students intending to transfer to complete a bachelor degree, and works through community, business and union partnerships to develop highly specialized training programs.

For more information about Washtenaw Community College, visit www.wccnet.edu.

Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich., will use its new Ford Mustang Mach-E to help prepare the EV workforce of the future. From left: Al Lecz, Director of the Advanced Transportation Center at WCC, and Jimmie Baber, Dean of the Advanced Technologies & Public Service Careers at WCC.