Managing Director of Évolution Synergétique Automotive S.L.
Transportation contributes massively to global warming worldwide, making up around 30% of CO2 emissions in developed countries, according to the UNECE. Engineering know-how is key to tackling these issues to develop zero-emission drives and enable electric mobility. Annette Kempf, CEO and founder of Eclipseina, spoke to José Mellado, Managing Director of Évolution Synergétique Automotive S.L (évo), to discover how e-learning keeps their team in top technical form.
What impact has electrification of transportation had on évo?
Massive – we were already focused on developing e-mobility solutions before the transition began. We’ve benefited from the move away from fossil fuels, and every e-mobility project that comes in has our closest attention.
Many automotive engineers have years of experience in combustion engines. What challenges do they face when transitioning to electric drivetrains?
This is a massive issue because the knowledge needed for combustion engines, what works, what doesn’t, and how to tune a solution, is very different. They need a solid introduction to electrical drives, the control approaches, and the electronics and software that make it happen. On top, we have to help them get familiar with new ways of working and solving problems in this space.
What about new hires, explicitly engineering graduates?
Are they ready to hit the ground running?
No, not in our experience. Universities are delivering us with capable engineers, but they don’t study aspects of our domain, e-mobility, in enough depth to be useful on day one.
It falls to industry, like évo, to further develop their skills so that they can flourish as automotive engineers. We also must remember that the domains in which skills are needed are expanding. It’s not just electric drives, battery charging, and safety. Cybersecurity is a hot topic, a specialist subject, and something that most engineers will be aware of but not at the depth required for implementation. Our job is to grow those skills in our employees.
So, how have you traditionally gone about developing those skills?
In the past, we relied on experienced engineers to develop and deliver training courses for our employees. However, there have been many challenges with this. Firstly, an engineer developing a training course is a valuable resource that is being taken away from a customer’s project. Training development requires a lot of focus and concentration, so it dramatically impacts our effectiveness. Secondly, we need to steal their time again to deliver the training. Finally, we are not experts on optimal training course construction. This approach has had a significant financial impact from a business perspective.
What appealed about the online e-learning platform, Embedded Academy?
A lot! Firstly, we wouldn’t have to create, maintain, and deliver the training. That frees up our teams’ skills, experience, and availability to deliver on customer projects.
Next, the flexibility for engineers to go and learn at their own pace and when it suits them is a huge bonus. Then there is the range of topics. On Embedded Academy, my team can get started on the basics to set the groundwork or delve into higher-level topics they can deploy daily. We’ve used the modules on automotive SPICE, e-mobility, and electric powertrains. But it’s perhaps cybersecurity that really shines – that is material we would have found challenging to develop.
From a business perspective, what has the benefit of Embedded Academy been to évo?
The most tangible benefit is cost. Our most valuable resource, experienced automotive engineers, are doing automotive engineering again.
Training has been outsourced to a provider, Eclipseina, with the required technical competency in automotive electrification and your professional e-learning delivery platform. Then there is the flexibility. Everyone can learn when and where they want to – we don’t have to bring everyone on-site for training.
And who within évo benefits the most from Embedded Academy?
It’s probably our youngest engineers, those starting their careers, who have benefitted most from Embedded Academy. They can build up that critical e-mobility system knowledge through e-learning in domains where finding good quality and reliable information is challenging. Our employees also comment on and appreciate our investment in their careers – this is something that we’re delighted about.