Students from Monongalia County Technical Education Center (MTEC), an Associate Training Center member of the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC), recently attended the 16th annual EV Challenge competition at the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research.

Held May 20-21 in Garysburg, N.C., EV Challenge educates students and the general public on innovative alternative fuel technology with a focus on electric vehicle technology and its energy and environmental benefits to society.

One-hundred and fifty exceptional high school students representing 11 schools from five states converged on Northampton County, N.C., for the competition, which was the culmination of a yearlong educational program featuring high school students that build cutting edge full-size electric vehicles.

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Participants in the 2011 EV Challenge display their vehicles after the racing competitions May 20-21 in Garysburg, N.C. Credit: NAFTC

NAFTC Executive Director Al Ebron, a member of MTEC’s Advisory Board, attended the event. He spoke during the closing awards ceremony, highlighting the NAFTC’s programs, training opportunities and education and outreach efforts as they relate to electric vehicles.

“EV Challenge is really a great high school program, in that I’ve seen it change kids’ lives,” Ebron noted. “It’s a program that involves new technology, and students can really identify with electric vehicles and the technology that goes along with them.”

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NAFTC Executive Director Al Ebron discusses the importance of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle education during the closing ceremony of EV Challenge. Credit: NAFTC

Ebron added that he was proud to watch MTEC’s team participate with its Mazda MX3 and to see how well they represented West Virginia.

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NAFTC Executive Director Al Ebron, second from left, stands with the MTEC EV Challenge team, including Electrical Technology Instructor George Law, third from right. Credit: NAFTC

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The MTEC Mazda MX3 participates in the 2011 EV Challenge. Credit: EV Challenge

“One of the problems with high school is that, frankly, it can be boring for students who want and need to work with their hands,” said EV Challenge Director Eric Ryan. “This is especially true in today’s educational climate, which is so centered on test-taking that stimulates only the mind. Schools continue to remove classes that promote hands-on learning: shop, art, physical education and so on. This is where the EV Challenge makes a critical difference in the lives of so many young people.”

“We provide an exciting and very real opportunity for students to use both their minds and their hands,” he added. “They build full-size electric cars. They practice and perfect troubleshooting skills. They build websites. They raise money. The program provides tons of options for real-world student involvement. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, they’re helping to create a better future. The EV Challenge provides students with one of the most unique opportunities in the nation to gain hands-on knowledge and skills in a developing technology that can benefit themselves and the environment.”

Based out of Raleigh, the EV Challenge is a program of the nonprofit Carolina Electric Vehicle Coalition, Inc., which gets a majority of its funding from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.




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