St_Thomas Engineer 2023



G raduate students in the School of Engineering’s EV Market and Technologies course get an up- close-and-personal look at the latest vehicles to hit dealer lots. The EV show is the brainchild of EV educator

years – it’s an excellent machine – but it’s not very efficient,” Kukkonen said. The difference between technologies is stark. Gas motors run around 15% to 25% fuel efficiency, while electric motors usually hit more than 85% efficiency. “That’s what the change is about – we will be able to power our driving using much less energy and still have exactly the same or even better driving experience,” Kukkonen said. That driving experience is something Kukkonen ensures all his students feel firsthand. Participants in the annual EV show get a chance

and course instructor, Jukka Kukkonen . “The whole shift that is happening in

transportation right now is pretty complicated,” Kukkonen said. “What we are trying to do is … understand how we are here, why is this all happening, and where are we going so that our students can then decide if they want to learn more… and figure out their new career options.” The EV show is just one part of an extensive class centered solely around the key areas of the electric vehicle market. Students learn about smart charging technologies, charging infrastructure, and the latest models to hit the market. And there is plenty to learn in such a fast-changing industry. An automotive engineer by training, Kukkonen has been fascinated with electric vehicles for decades. He founded Shift2Electric in 2010, an EV market consulting and training company. Since then he’s worked with utility companies, dealers and consumers … all in an effort to champion the move from gas to electric. “When you look at the internal combustion engine we have been using for the last 100

to drive multiple different EV models. “My job has to do with (electrical) grid

modernization and I work at a company that sells market software,” School of Engineering graduate student Ophelia Loree said. “As time moves forward, a lot of that is going to be how can the grid handle chargers and EVs put on to it.” Loree is thankful for a course that is designed to incorporate the latest EV technologies. “This is nothing like many of my other courses, where we are looking at theory,” Loree said. “It’s been so much more real world … we’re learning about technology that is coming out right now.” EV Market and Technologies is offered each fall. And as electric vehicles grow their share in the marketplace, Kukkonen believes the course will only become more important. “Right now, most of our students are electrical engineers, but it’s very useful for a wide variety of students,” Kukkonen said. “The whole market is changing so fast, understanding is key.” n

Story and photos by ABRAHAM SWEE

That’s what the change is about – we will be able to power our driving using much less energy and still have exactly the same or an even better driving experience.

Scan this QR code to watch a video featuring Jukka Kukkonen and students in the EV Market and Technologies course.

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