How this Utahn turned his passion for electric vehicles into 40 million YouTube views

This story is part of The Salt Lake Tribune’s ongoing determination to identify options to Utah’s largest problems as a result of the function of the Innovation Lab.

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Pretty much a era ago, John Kelly observed two waves coming.

The initial wave began in 2000 when Toyota brought the Prius, the initially preferred hybrid vehicle, to the United States.

“I was a late comer in 2004,” reported Kelly, a professor of automotive engineering at Weber State College. That is when he initially obtained the prospect to tear a Prius apart and discover about how it integrated electric electricity into an inside combustion car or truck.

The next wave arrived a couple of many years later on when YouTube introduced the video revolution, and Kelly started uploading instructional video clips about hybrid and electric powered cars and trucks.

“That’s been a enormous attractor,” he explained.

Understatement. The films Kelly has uploaded to the WeberAuto YouTube channel have been given additional than 40 million views. The channel alone has 330,000 subscribers.

And he’s regularly introducing a lot more. In a new sequence, he tore apart the motors from a Ford Mustang Mach-E GT that had been donated to the university, describing each individual element with a folksy smile. “ … Okay. Let us just take a look at these axle housings and see what we can see. … ”

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Weber Condition University’s Automotive Technologies plan learners, from still left, Cameron Goff, Kevin Camarena and Alex Leigh share a chortle whilst finding components on a Tesla Design SP100D at the Layton campus, Sept. 19, 2022.

All of a unexpected, a man in Utah is teaching the planet on the subsequent era of transportation.

“We have people today from the Center East contacting us,” mentioned Kelly’s division head, Jessica Slater.

Weber has formulated a curriculum for schooling experts on all aspects of hybrid and electrical upkeep. All of the automotive technological know-how department’s 250 college students receive EV and hybrid coaching, and it is featuring certifications to other folks who total two on the web programs and a just one-7 days “boot camp” at the school’s Davis County campus in Layton.

So much, Kelly has taught 18 boot camps, and it is develop into obvious that he is teaching the trainers. “More than fifty percent are college or university instructors from all over the region and the globe. … They’re 15 to 17 a long time behind us.”

‘Volts and Bolts’ discussion on Weber campus

The Salt Lake Tribune, Rocky Mountain Electricity and Weber State College will host “Volts and Bolts,” a group conversation on the electric vehicle rollout and the implications for the automotive know-how job. The Sept. 29 dialogue will contain Weber State Automotive Know-how department head Jessica Slater, professor John Kelly and James Campbell, director of innovation and sustainability at PacifiCorp/Berkshire Hathaway Electrical power, Rocky Mountain Power’s guardian business. Tribune renewable electrical power reporter Tim Fitzpatrick will average. It will be held in Developing D2, area 110 on Weber State’s Davis County campus in Layton at 4 p.m. A livestream will be hosted at sltrib.com. The function is cost-free, but RSVPs are inspired at little bit.ly/tribunevoltsandbolts.

On YouTube, Kelly is a one-man exhibit. He has his individual cameras and lights on tripods, and he shoots, edits and uploads the video clips himself, complicated operate for a guy who has a type of muscular dystrophy and has utilized a wheelchair for the very last 9 years immediately after several several years on crutches.

He places in lengthy hours to produce the video clips when educating lessons. “Being in a wheelchair, there aren’t a large amount issues I can do for fun. This is my passion and my pastime,” he said, adding, “I do not remain late. I arrive in early.”

He also relies on pupil assistants to manage the really hard-to-attain positions on the cars and trucks. A single latest assistant, Nash Stephenson, mentioned Kelly only once in a while wants his assist. “If he can get it, he receives it.”

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Joseph Potempa, 21, from Huntington Seaside, CA ensures that there is no voltage registering on a Nissan Leaf EV right after doing a manual support disconnect, Sept. 21, 2022. Weber Condition University’s Automotive Technologies plan has been a leader in producing curriculum to train mechanics how to work on electrical and hybrid motor vehicles.

“Awesome,” Stephenson stated about doing work as Kelly’s assistant. Like numerous other students, he came to Weber from out of point out due to the fact of the program’s escalating name. He finished a two-12 months automobile tech application in California, and he arrived to Weber to get a 4-12 months diploma. “It’s actually eye-opening for the reason that it’s various from what I figured out ahead of.”

Still a appreciate for combustion

Stephenson is familiar with electric powered will generate the sector, but he hasn’t missing his passion for pistons. He drives a 1996 Buick Roadmaster, a V8-driven gas burner four years older than he is. “Cars have been vital in the family members for a lengthy time.” His father operates a cellular car detailing enterprise, and his grandfather ran an auto wrecking yard. He stated when he can no lengthier generate the Buick, he will retain it for good in his garage.

Ruben Rodriguez took a identical path, finishing a two-year software in Texas just before coming to Weber to “expand my horizons.” He acknowledges that advancements in electric vehicles are likely to drive the sector. “Technology is like a bunny. It hops.”

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Weber Point out University’s Automotive Know-how scholar Nicholas Bottaro winces as he endures shorter horn blasts from a Chevy Volt when performing a guide service disconnect, Sept. 21, 2022.

Rodriguez reported EV routine maintenance depends a lot more on what desktops expose and a lot less on a technician’s senses. Working on fuel-powered vehicles, he recollects occasions when the computer system diagnostics were not as correct as listening to the engine operate or smelling for unburned gasoline in the exhaust.

Slater, the Automotive Engineering section head, has been advising incoming pupils for yrs. “They occur in with a passion for horsepower.” When they’re in the plan, they occur to recognize that electric powered can be high-performance. “Once they get uncovered, they get excited.”

She thinks past month’s announcement of an all-electrical Dodge Charger notion vehicle will improve a lot of people’s perspectives. “It’s a very well acknowledged muscle mass auto.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Weber Condition University’s Automotive Know-how university student Nicholas Bottaro shares a laugh with instuctor John Kelly although executing a handbook provider disconnect, Sept. 21, 2022.

Like everybody else, the faculty faces a regular obstacle to get new electric vehicles. Educational institutions get particular pricing that can press them to the back of the line. They’ve been waiting around far more than a yr to get 1 of the significantly-predicted Ford F-150 Lightning pickup trucks, stated Scott Hadzik, a further automotive technologies professor.

Weber is also boosting the EV and hybrid bar for other Utah educational facilities. With the help of some condition grants, the division has been obtaining products and building curricula for 14 northern Utah higher faculties and four used technological innovation centers. Slater has details showing employers are selecting about 400 students for every year — from Weber’s plans and from systems at the technology centers.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Weber Condition University’s Automotive Technological know-how software student Kade Larson performs a guide company disconnect on an EV vehicle, Sept. 21, 2022.

She stated the school is also setting up to roll out a new four-yr degree method in “automotive electrical engineering technology,” which addresses a significant ask for from car makers for much more knowledge in electrical engineering.

Security initially and normally

For the substantial educational institutions, the training emphasizes security. The instructors in higher colleges never have significantly publicity to the large-voltage techniques that can be deadly if mishandled.

Among other matters, protection suggests wearing a good deal of gloves. When operating around any program electrified by a car’s batteries, professionals dress in at minimum two levels of gloves, 1 of them a rubber layer that is an electrical insulator. Some also add an inner liner. Those and non-conducting device kits are in dazzling orange toolboxes that Weber shares with the other educational institutions.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Publicity to a vehicle’s substantial-voltage programs can be lethal if mishandled.&#13Between other issues, security usually means sporting a ton of gloves. Students in Weber State University’s Automotive Engineering plan put on three levels of gloves for security, Sept. 21, 2022.

Protection is also the overall focus of the initial on line system available in conjunction with the boot camps. Kelly reported understanding about security and all the new techniques on electric powered autos will be a more substantial problem for auto professionals than the obtain of particular machines. “If I was running a dealership or a store, I would be downloading all the manuals.”

And if they get caught, they can often discover Kelly on YouTube.

Tim Fitzpatrick is The Salt Lake Tribune’s renewable energy reporter, a placement funded by a grant from Rocky Mountain Electricity. The Tribune retains all regulate about editorial choices unbiased of Rocky Mountain Energy.