At Tiverton High School in Rhode Island, two students and their teacher have built a plug in EV that is rated at an incredbile 1552 MPGe for a total investment of $1584. The EV is named Apotheosis, which means the highest point of development or climax, and it is the successor to last year’s experimental car, called Endurance, that cost under $1000 and was rated at 425 MPGe.
The 2013 car used a frame made of PVC plastic pipe donated by a local plumber. An anonymous donor gave the school $565, which paid for bicycle wheels and brushless DC motor designed to power an electric-bike. All finished, Endurance weighed only 110 pounds and had a top speed of 18 mph. With three 12 volt batteries, it had a range of 30 miles.
Instructor Edwin Fernandes says the project took about 600 hours to complete. The two students, Alec Figueiredo and Ryan Mirka “fabricated a wiring harness to connect the controls, regenerative braking, the three sealed lead-acid, 12-volt, 18 ah batteries, and charge port (which made Endurance a Plug-In Electric Vehicle or PIEV). They added a multimeter, which acted as a “digital gas gauge” and even wired a switch for reverse.” He adds, “We can talk all day on the blackboard about theory and about numbers and about math and electronics, but it’s best to go to the bench and prove what we have learned.”
For 2014, the students figured out how to make the chassis even lighter. They used better batteries, added solar panels to the roof and transformers to step up the power for the EV’s motor. The electricity from the solar panel helps to dramatically increase the range of the Apotheosis EV, giving it a 1,552 MPGe rating, making it nearly four times as efficient as their first effort.
If I were an employer in the automotive field looking for a new worker, I know I would much prefer hiring someone with real world experience building an actual car than one who aced his final exam but doesn’t know a rheostat from a rhinoceros. Kudos to the students, their instructor and Tiverton High School for making this project possible.