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Memorial Students build an electric car

Click here to access Mr. Ron Grosinger's webpage

MHS teacher assists General Motors at the National Science Teachers Conference

Ron Grosinger the Alternative Fuels teacher at MHS will be assisting General Motors at the National Science Teachers Conference In Philadelphia this week in bringing about Alternative Fuels education in their classrooms.

MHS students build fully functional electric car

Earlier this month the students of put the final finishing touches to Memorial's first built electric car, and debuted it at the NJ Technology Educators Association. The project, which began in February, was part of a pilot program taught by Ron Grosinger called the Alternative Fuel Education program at Memorial High School.

The 18 students of the Alternative Fuel Education class transformed of a 1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet into an electric car by replacing the gas engine an electric motor, a speed controller, and 12 lead acid batteries. In addition, they learned the history of alternative fuels, and about present day "Going Green” efforts to harness these alternative forms of energy. The electric car can go up to speeds of 65 MPH, and has a power source that can go for an average of 4 hours before it needs to be recharged.

Memorial High School Principal Robert Sanchez had the chance to unveil the electric car to residents of West New York during Sunday’s Memorial Day Parade, which ran from 67 Street and Bergenline Avenue to the Veteran’s Memorial on Boulevard East.

Click hereto view article published in Jersey Journal - 6/23/2009

Photo Gallery

Out with the old gasoline engine of this 1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet!

The students of MHS’s alternative fuels education class take the first steps in converting this used car into a "Green” electric car.

Senior Ahmed Awawdeh, 18, working on removing the car’s motor and transmission.

Freshmen Freddie Gomez, 15; Jorge Torres, 15; and sophomore Isamara Lozano, 16, working on detaching the radiator.

Junior Brenda Torres, 16, (right) and sophomore Isamara Lozano (left) work on labeling the parts being removed from the 1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet.

How do you build an electric car?

It’s really very simple:

- Take a class of 18 enthusiastic students –plus one teacher- and one gasoline powered 1990 Volkswagen Cabriolet convertible.

- Next have that class label and remove the car’s engine and all associated parts.

- Then replace the gas engine with one electric motor, a speed controller and 12 lead acid batteries.

Lastly, congratulations! You have your very own electric car with speeds up to 65 MPH, and a power source that can go for an average of 4 hours before it needs to be recharged.

"If the average commute is 35 miles why should you pay for gas when you can ride an electric car and plug it in at work,” said Technology teacher Ron Grosinger.

History of the electric car and other alternative fuel vehicles

Despite the recent gain in popularity, the electric car has been around for over 100 years.

In 1906 the Baker Electric Co. made 800 electric cars, making them the largest electric vehicle maker in the world at the time.However, the battery power for those first time electric cars was not yet well adapted. They had the same amount of power as a regular Duracell battery.

In addition, the technology to run a diesel car on renewable vegetable oil has been in existence for over 100 years as well. The diesel engine invented by Rudolph Diesel, which he presented at the 1898World’s Exhibition Fair in Paris,was originally run on peanut oil - the original biodiesel.

Diesel believed biomass fuel to be a viable alternative to the steam engine, particularly to run farm equipment. Vegetable oils were used in diesel engines until the 1920’s when an alteration was made to the engine, enabling it to use a residue of petroleum—what is now known as No.2 diesel.The current diesel engine uses the same basic design, and with a small alteration can run on used veggie oil from a deep fryer machine.
More complex alternative fuels like hydrogen powered cars, the concepts have been proven and practical versions are still in development. Grosinger is hoping to touch upon this concept with his students through lab experiments to show proof of the concept.