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Tesla Motors VP of Vehicle Engineering Peter Rawlinson with Model S – Click above to watch video after the jump

Automakers and suppliers on the hunt for trained mechatronics engineers are finding that it's still difficult to locate qualified individuals. Jerry Klarr, director of North American hybrid programs for AVL Powertrain Engineering Inc. in Detroit, MI, states that his firm is:

If working on high-tech batteries like the units pictured above or developing complex hybrid powertrains is your cup of tea, then boy are you a lucky one. As countless automakers turn their attention towards a future filled with electric and hybrid vehicles, the demand for mechatronics engineers will only continue to grow.

This fall, Wayne State University (WSU) in Detroit will become the first university in the United States to offer a full graduate engineering degree program in electric drive systems. Wayne joins the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and other schools in developing programs that aim to provide engineers with the expertise needed to develop the next generation of vehicles that don't rely on internal combustion engines for propulsion.

For over a century, the training of automotive engineers has focused on creating vehicles propelled by internal combustion engines. Electrical and mechanical engineers have worked on piston engines, transmissions and all manner of related systems. The future holds new directions for transportation, much of which revolves around electric drive systems. That means veterans and upcoming engineers need new skill sets.

Bob Kruse is going freelance. Kruse has been executive director of global vehicle engineering for hybrids, electric vehicles and batteries at General Motors since early 2008. He has overseen the teams led by Denise Gray, Larry Nitz and Micky Bly that are developing hybrid and electric vehicles for GM. Kruse has opted to leave GM and form his own consulting firm called E V Consulting LLC to provide engineering expertise to companies looking to cash in on the federal bounty currently available for

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