Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 12:28 PM PST
by Robin Hug, Staff Writer
After months of drilling, screwing, welding and wiring, an electric Chevy S-10 truck, built by students at Windsor High School, is getting the finishing touches put on it in preparation for giving it away.
The Windsor High School’s Alternative Fuels Class will unveil their electric truck project to the community next month, showing off their skills of converting a gas engine into an electric engine. The truck will be given away to one lucky community member or business in exchange for a new electric truck conversion kit.
“I think it is going to be good for our environment to start switching over to electric,” said Eric Sharp, senior at WHS and a foramen on the project.
The Alternative Fuels project is designed by Electric Auto Shop, a company out of Sebastopol, that creates conversion kits to teach students hands-on training in motor replacement and also provides a curriculum heavily based in math, vocabulary and business development in the auto industry.
“We have written a curriculum that will educated students on building electric vehicles,” said Michael Mac, owner of Electric Auto Shop. “It is a course that will help students understand different technology and get exposure to see if this is something they want to do.”
Students from all eight-core study categories at WHS are able to take the Alternative Fuels class, which is offered through the Regional Occupation Program (ROP) funded by the state.
“I have past experience working on motors and welding before I came to the shop so now I work as a foramen,” said junior Matt Lenney. “I think this class is important because it teaches kids how to pull trucks apart and work on motors.”
The students took the Chevy truck motor and transmission out and hooked the transmission up to an electric DC motor. The truck has 16 DC batteries and can run for approx. 40 miles on a charge.
The students are also learning about different types of batteries and which are easier to recycle and better for the environment. The next kit they are looking to buy will teach them about lithium-ion batteries and AC motors.
“Gas prices are going up and a lot of environmentally conscience people are looking for electric cars and trucks to save money on gas. Lithium batteries are going to be better for the environment,” said senior Chris Monroy.
Electric Auto Shop continues to develop new kits to educate students and the public about physics and power, the conversion process and planning for a future of alternative transportation. The company is now expanding outside of the classroom to also offer training for private citizens on how to assemble an electric car and teacher training courses for schools interested in bringing an electric auto program to their school.
“We are a new company, about a year and a half, and are developing additional curriculum so there is a stream of courses in AC, DC and hybrid systems to go through the different techniques,” said Mac.
The Electric Auto Shop instructor, Greg Lands, says that the class has been an amazing opportunity for his 33 students and that the lessons they have learned about alternative fuel options have given these students a head start on finding a position in their field of interest after high school.
“Honestly I think we should have more hands on classes like this one, said Josh Duke, a WHS junior. “We get the experience and learn what jobs we might be interested in later in life.”
For more information on Electric Auto Shop visit — www.electricautoshop.com
Check in at The Windsor Times for a release date of the electric truck.