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Local bright spark expert on buses

Tranzit Coachlines employee Tom Nikolaison has been awarded an electric vehicle automotive engineering scholarship. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Former Wairarapa college student Tom Nikolaison is so keen on the mechanics of electric buses he is doing the level 5, MITO New Zealand Certificate in Electric Vehicle [EV] Automotive Engineering.

He was awarded a 2020 MITO Alumni [EV] scholarship to pay the programme fee.

Nikolaison has worked for Tranzit Coachlines for five years. He did the diesel mechanic apprenticeship through MITO under Tranzit’s national fleet manager Daryn Murphy.

“He’s a capable guy and from the get-go always showed initiative,” Murphy said. “I remember he came in to see me when he was still at high school with a wood splitter creation he engineered. He showed a lot of promise and skill.

“When the opportunity came up for the scholarship it was great timing and I’m really stoked for him, it’s well deserved.

“There were 25 applications for this scholarship and Tom’s application really stood out.”

The level 5 certificate will advance Nikolaison’s ability to safely and effectively diagnose and repair faults in electric vehicles.

“The scholarship will give me more knowledge and better skills to work on our electric buses with particular attention on safety, the rapidly changing battery technology and charging infrastructure,” Nikolaison said.

“I’ve enjoyed working on the EVs – they’re challenging in a way being high voltage and there’s a lot of safety things to consider but working on them has definitely opened up a lot of my opportunities.”

Nikolaison is based in Tranzit’s depot in the Wellington suburb of Rongotai but comes to the Masterton workshop when necessary. He was set to go on a special training trip to China earlier this month for more training but because of the coronavirus travel ban it was postponed.

Tranzit began exploring electric vehicle technology in 2014 and partnered with Auckland University of Technology to do a joint application to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund. This was successful and led to the development and build of New Zealand’s first commercially operated 100 per cent battery powered electric bus called EV1. The company has 11 EVs.

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