Students from University High School (UHS) in Morgantown, WV recently made a visit to the NAFTC headquarters as a part of the NAFTC’s mission to increase educational outreach and awareness about alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.
Following a presentation and activity in the spring, UHS instructor Chris Hilvers contacted NAFTC’s Bill Davis to request yet another activity for the fall.
“It went so well last time that we decided to do it again,” said Davis.
Following a welcome by Executive Director, Al Ebron, forty-five juniors and seniors from the UHS Advanced Placement Environmental Science class participated in laboratory activities such as creating biodiesel, and learned about the NAFTC and vehicles powered by fuel cells, battery-electric, natural gas, and others through presentations.
Davis was impressed by the insightful questions from the students. He said, “We had discussions on the future of the automotive industry, the creation of hydrogen, and the research on liquid coal. These are kids who we want working in alternative fuels technology one day soon.”
In addition to Bill Davis and Al Ebron, other NAFTC staff pitched in to make the day an enjoyable learning experience including Judy Moore, Laura Tinney, and Adam Brown.
Brown, NAFTC Events Coordinator, said, “I showed the students our Miles electric vehicle, and a lot of them were surprised by how quiet the car was. We were educating them, but then they also got to see the vehicle and test it out so I felt like they were having fun too.”
Following the presentations, students also had the opportunity to drive EVs in Ridgeview Business Park to see how it felt as compared to an internal combustion vehicle.
Davis, who has a background in education, admits that events like this are his favorite part of the job. He said, “These students will soon be the decision makers in purchasing vehicles, and they’ll be in the position to influence policy whether by voting or by becoming government officials themselves. They are the future.”
Davis and other members of the NAFTC recognize the importance of education during this crucial time in automotive history.
He said, “We are on the verge of a change in transportation that we have not seen since the turn of the 19 th century. Transportation of individuals is going to change dramatically during these young people’s lives, and alternative fuel vehicles are going to lead the way.”
Many of the students showed an interest in learning more about AFVs beyond the two-hour presentation, and they were invited to follow the NAFTC and to continue educating themselves on alternative fuels technology in the coming years.
“When I see the sparks going off behind those eyes, it tickles me to death,” said Davis, “and I saw a lot of sparks going off that day.”