It is no secret that the American education system is in need of some serious repairs. How that manifests itself is a project for people far smarter than I am, though if you ask me the biggest problem is a failure to engage students in interesting and creative ways. For inspiration, we need look no further than Japan, where a company has released a Do-It-Yourself electric car kit for the purpose of educating students and teachers alike.
So Simple Even Teenagers Can Build It
Modi-Corp has released an electric kit car that is technically classifed as a motorized bicycle. That means it can be registered and driven on city streets, though not far or particularly fast. The Pius, which is what Modi-Corp is calling this glorified go-kart, has a top speed of about 22 mph, and a range of 15 miles. The single seater is just 98-inches long, weighs 440 lbs., and is powered by a 1-horsepower electric motor attached to a 36 V battery setup. I could be wrong, but judging from the pictures, those look a like lot standard 12-volt batteries.
This is hardly the first electric kit car to be offered for sale on the market. Such kits were all the rage during the 1970’s oil crisis, and today there are literally dozens of different companies that will sell you DIY conversions. What makes the Modi-Corp Pius a wee bit different is that it is designed basically to teach students about electric vehicles, which would explain its simplicity.
This is brilliant for two reasons. One, it gives those students who might be interested in pursuing science or engineering as a career a chance to get some hands-on experience, and the world needs a lot more of both. Two, it might actually give young Japanese people a bit more interest in vehicles. The Japanese domestic car market is shrinking year by year for a number of reasons, urbanization being chief among them. If there is a country where electric cars could really grab hold, Japan is it.
New Ideas Needed
All this said, in fairness to the American system some shop classes are thinking outside of the box and engaging their students with challenging projects. A West Philadelphia high school recently competed in the Green Grand Prix with a kit car hybrid, and North Carolina high school even converted a Mustang to electric power. The American education system needs innovation above all, and I think the Pius DIY EV kit car brings that to the table.