Prototype electric vehicle built by Tiverton students - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Prototype electric vehicle built by Tiverton students

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TIVERTON, R.I. -

It's the first of its kind in the Ocean State, and -- you may want to start dancing now -- because, it's electric.

The Department of Technology Education at Tiverton High has named the car, built from scratch, "Endurance."

Technology teacher Ed Fernandez, who years ago worked at a local Chrysler Dealership, now heads up this class.

"We can talk all day on the blackboard about theory and numbers and math and electronics, but it's best to go to the bench and prove what we've learned," he said.

The small, specialized energy class -- two students, two drivers, and Fernandez -- spent $1,000 on parts, and 600 class hours on the 110 pound, all PVC pipe chassis, alloy-rimmed, 36-volt, DC-motored "Plug In Electric Vehicle" this past year.

Tiverton senior Ryan Mirka has had a number of years in Fernandez's classes. In the past he made solar lunchboxes. But now, he's moved up to cars.

"It's great being in something that you designed, helped build, and finally seeing it working, and finally being able to drive it around," Mirka said.

Endurance is made for drivers who are 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weigh 120 pounds. But it can handle those with more height and weight.

Horse-jockey sized freshman Alec Figueiredo was commissioned to be one of the two drivers.

"You don't want to have too much weight in it because the power to weight ratio, you won't have enough power for weight, then it affects the efficiency of it," Figueiredo said.

If designed right, in conjunction with power tweaking at home, electric vehicles can reduce the carbon footprint.

Fernandez makes the case.

"In this case, we've calculated that if you were to change the lights in your house to energy efficient lights, such as LED, the savings would more than pay for the running of your electric vehicle," he said.

Endurance is a prototype that will be added to in the years to come.

It can go up to 30 miles on a charge.

In the future and on the drawing board are a secondary battery and charging system, a solar roof, and a small wind turbine.

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