Inner-city Students Build Harley-powered Hybrids (w/ video)

The automotive X-Prize was kind of a big deal a few years ago, and it brought out some pretty big engineering guns from the likes of Aptera, Peraves, ERA, and West Philly High. That’s right: West Philly High, where a bunch of inner-city school kids “defied expectations” and built an innovative Focus-based hybrid that mated a Harley-Davidson V-twin gas engine with an electric motor to deliver a car that seats 4 with an efficiency rating well above 100 MPGe.

Not bad for a bunch of kids, is it?

The students’ “EVX” Ford Focus is a modified 2008 model that earned the nickname “Harley Hybrid” from its 1340 cc engine. The electric part of the team’s equation is a 45 kW electric motor from Azure Dynamics, which the EVX relies on up to 40 mph. At higher speeds, or under hard accelerations, it switches over to its modified Harley engine, which is also capable of burning both gasoline and biobutanol. For those of you keeping score, that means these kids built a flex-fuel hybrid. In high school. While taking other classes. The only I worked that hard for in High School was girls. :: facepalm ::

PBS has recently featured the West Philly X-Prize team in a series of videos. You can check out the first video in the series, below …

… and click the link, at bottom, to head on over to the PBS page to learn more about these amazing kids and their future-focused, um … Focus.

Source | Images: PBS, via the Knee Slider.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.