The 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which will open to the public on January 15th, will have more than 40 new vehicles on display. According to the Huffington Post, auto sales are the highest they’ve been since 2008, and the show will have both concept cars and cars that will be sold this year.
This year, green cars are predicted to grab the spotlight – whether the models are energy efficient, hybrid, electric, or made with eco-friendly materials. The Huffington Post said that one of this year’s trends will be “fuel-efficient cars with more style and safety features”.
Inhabitat has been reporting live from the auto show with details on the latest and greatest in green cars. For example, Ford has kicked it off with a 2013 Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, which will get 100 miles to the gallon. Ford also announced that it will recycle 2 million plastic bottles for use in its Focus electric vehicle.
As indicated by this year's green trend at the Detroit Auto Show, consumers have been warming to the idea of electric or hybrid fuel vehicles. A number of recent reports also suggest that sales of these clean vehicles will increase, which may indicate that green job opportunities in the auto industry will also grow.
The Green Car Market: Hybrid and Plug-In Electric Vehicles
A December 8, 2011 report from Pike Research estimated that by the year 2017, hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles will represent 5.1 percent of auto sales in the United States and 3.1 percent of sales worldwide. That represents an annual growth rate of nearly 20 percent from current levels for green vehicles, said the report.
Similarly, a separate December 13th report from the research firm estimates that the number of charging stations for electric vehicles will reach 1.5 million in the U.S. and 7.7 globally by 2017 to support the rising use of electric cars.
That's only one aspect to an increased global focus on smart transportation infrastructure, the firm reported, an effort which will comprise of $13.1 billion in worldwide investment dollars over six years.
Professional Certification in the Electric Vehicle Industry
Ultimately, the rising prevalence of electric vehicles on American roads may lead to new green job opportunities for qualified professionals. Occupations vary - individuals can find positions in research, design and engineering, manufacturing, maintenance, sales and infrastructure.
Training and credential requirements are similarly varied, but a handful of organizations offer certifications for professionals who seek work specifically in electric vehicle engineering and maintenance. The Clean Tech Institute offers a Certified Electric Vehicle Technician (CEVT) training program for repair and production tasks. The same is true of the Electronics Technicians Association (ETA).
Additionally, the Department of Energy's (DOE) Graduate Automotive Technology Education (GATE) program provides education in alternative vehicle fuels and technologies at a number of institutions around the country, including Ohio State University, The University of Michigan-Dearborn and The University of California-Davis.