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Starting a Class in Building Electric Cars


Hi Everyone!

I've been very involved the last several years in DIY Clean Transportation at the ground level. I've built my own electric car, my own electric motorcycle, hybridized the car, and give talks at energy fairs, sustainability fairs, and post hundreds (literally, hundreds) of videos to YouTube teaching about these projects.

I've also put lots of work into postings on Instructables teaching about these projects, and the audience here has been GREAT!

I've also been donating my INSTRUCTIONAL DVDs to high schools, tech schools, and colleges for any teacher that will help start a class or extra-curricular at their educational institution. While I've got lots of requests from schools for the videos (and I'm going broke donating them!) I haven't heard back much on actual classes getting started.

I think the reason why is that teachers don't have any SUPPORT MATERIALS. They need a curriculum, course outline, and workbooks to go with the video, so that any shop or science teacher has a ready-to-go "Class in a Box".

I'm thinking about writing a workbook companion to go with my BUILD YOUR OWN ELECTRIC CAR instructional DVD which can be used by students as a text for a class. It would feature lessons, activities, and quizzes that would go along with the video. A teacher's curriculum would go with this as well.

This might be a good thing to fund through Kickstarter or something similar. A small amount of money raised would go far in developing a workbook, and any money raised OVER that could be used to print workbooks and get "Class in a Box" donated to High Schools and Colleges.

What are your thoughts? Do you like this idea? Is this the best way to get the most information out to the next generation of auto-builders and DIYer's?

All input welcome!

For more on this, see my blog. 

TheStudio74 years ago
Aim it at university level, they are more resourceful. It is fairly easy to come up with a lecture plan etc... and particularly engineering students would already have equipment necessary to make a start (and they are very good at scrounging).
I agree with Kiteman, a full size car is problematic at a high school level however, have a look at this link
http://www.racvenergybreakthrough.net/photos-videos/
I have been involved in building these small hybrid vehicles for around ten years it a great project for kids and there is around 300 schools in Australia who make them.
about 2 years ago they opened it up to electric only and ethanol only.
in the download area you will find all the rules and regs you could ever need.
The best part, the kids can race them for 24 hours non stop who ever has the most laps at the end wins.
Kiteman4 years ago
Speaking as a teacher in the UK, there are three reasons why a school would not build an electric car;

Time. We have many things we are required to cover, and there are only so many hours in the week.

Money. Without outside sponsorship, no state-funded school could justify the cost of building an electric car compared to the number of pupils involved.

Legality. Once the car is built, it will need driving. In the UK, you have to be 17 to drive a car on public roads, plus the car itself has to be tested to government standards before it can be driven, and there is the thorny issue of insurance and Health and Safety.
Having been so negative, though, it would be cool to build one...
bennelson (author)  Kiteman4 years ago
Most areas in the United States aren't prohibitively bothersome in the requirements on an electric car conversion, although it is different from one area to another. (I always encourage people to check what regulations apply to them BEFORE they start a project.)

In my area, there is an emphasis for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) materials and training at schools. It could easily be integrated into other existing science, shop, or technology classes. For the hands-on portion, perhaps that would be funded seperately, the way school sports teams are, where there are "boosters", fund-raising events, and sometimes sponsors.

I'm all for negative comments if it's a legitemate list of concerns and barriers that would need to be overcome. That just gives us a good chance to brainstorm and come up with better solutions!