(Article published in Automotive Innovations magazine, June 2023)


By Isabelle Havasy


Launched last year by NAPA, the NexDrive program is aimed exclusively at shops under the NAPA AUTOPRO banner. To be certified under this banner, which specializes in hybrid and electric vehicles, Quebec shops must have completed the training provided by Compétences VÉ.


“Quebec is well served in terms of electric vehicle (EV) training with its government-subsidized program,” explains Yves Racette, NAPA/NexDrive Program Development Manager. However, companies located in other provinces must spend considerable sums of money to take advantage of similar training.


NAPA’s EV Certification


To overcome this lack of specialized training outside Quebec, and to standardize the expertise of its network across the country, NAPA has created the NAPA EV Training and Certification. The program is aimed at customers of major accounts served by NAPA, such as Fix Auto, Point S and many others, as well as dealers. “We train, certify and support both mechanical and body shop personnel, so that they have the required knowledge to service and repair vehicles properly.” Each company can decide whether to take the full certification program, or simply select the modules that suit its specific needs.


This program, which incorporates that of Compétences VÉ, also includes, on the NAPA EV Training and Certification side, a hands-on test on a vehicle in the mechanical section to verify that the candidate has fully integrated what they have learned. “We simulate a real-life situation with a particular problem, as if the candidate were in their own shop. This allows us to observe their reflexes and make sure they’re adopting the right safety measures.” Still under development, the bodywork component is scheduled to comprise three levels. “The first two will incorporate licensed courses, which come from Compétences VÉ or the CPCPA (Conseil provincial des comités paritaires de l’industrie des services automobiles). But we’ll be creating our own training for the third,” explains Racette.


Nationwide Expertise


“The objective of having certified shops across Canada is to help the network develop expertise to address the needs of customers, but also those of non-traditional manufacturers and electric vehicle fleets, in terms of repair, maintenance and parts, as well as logistics.”


On a more provincial scale, NAPA is working on “new, more targeted training courses, which should be offered in the fall, or winter at the latest. We want to make sure that shops stay up to date so they can keep their certification,” concludes Mr. Racette.


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