Students successful in building first WVHS electric car


Students successful in building first WVHS electric car

January 20, 2023

Kevin Wilson's classAfter spending months in the shop building Warwick Valley High School’s first-ever full-size electric car, each of the students in engineering teacher Kevin Wilson’s Green Technology – The Electric Car class got to take their class project out in the parking lot for a little test on Friday, January 20, 2023.

Mr. Wilson pulled the car out of the classroom garage and rounded the parking lot before handing the wheel over to the students. For the very first-time they got to feel the steering wheel and turning radius, hit the accelerator to feel the acceleration, and pump the brakes to sense the stopping power. After an hour of testing they were elated, proud and simply relieved that there were no malfunctions.

“It was pretty fun,” said senior Devin Freemyer, who was the first student to take it for a test drive. “It doesn’t drive like a Cadillac but it gets you around and that’s what we wanted.” He is planning to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, Florida, for aeronautical engineering next year.

Mr. Wilson said his students learned over the semester how to painstakingly check each other’s work to ensure that everything was operating correctly and performing the way it should. Afterall, it’s not like you can put brakes on a car that may or may not work right when they need to. 

“I told them it’s not like having 2 points or 3 points off on an exam for an error,” Mr. Wilson said. Brakes were the trickiest part of the project. It took a few weeks to get the calipers to work right, but the students were successful.

Since September, the 12 students have worked on sections such as the high voltage lithium battery system, the brake system, the suspension and alignment, the low voltage battery system, and the lighting and signals. Each class began with classroom instruction that led to hands-on applications on the car.

“I loved the hands-on work. I feel it’s a major component of learning things,” said John Lupkovich drives the electric car in the parking lot, a senior who plans to attend Michigan State for environmental engineering next year. “You can sit in a classroom and have a teacher explain everything to you, but if you’re not doing it yourself and it’s not hands-on I feel you’re not learning as much as you could be. For me, personally, the hands-on stuff is how I learn.”

Next up for the students is to dismantle the car over the next week and put the parts back into a cabinet to get them ready for a new class of students in the spring semester.

“The experiences that the students learn now will allow them to develop in the future into who they will be,” Mr. Wilson said. He knows they may not necessarily use what he taught them in class, but he believes they learned skills that will help them be successful in their futures.

“The most rewarding thing for me is the relationships that I have had with them,” Mr. Wilson said. “I’m definitely not the typical teacher but that’s what creates a relationship where they are comfortable learning. I truly hope in years to come that they come back and say that it was truly one of the best times they had in high school.”

The electric car rounds a corner in-between the high school and middle school


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