Region 14 tech center nets $50,000 grant for electric car kit

  • Former ConVal student Olivia Adams works in the shop at the Mascenic Automotive program. Ledger-Transcript file photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/15/2021 4:54:36 PM

With the help of a new grant, students of ConVal’s Region 14 Applied Technology Center will be building a road-ready electric vehicle next year – part of a rebuildable kit that will be available to trades students for years to come.

Region 14 was one of four New Hampshire trades programs to receive a $50,000 grant for a kit to build an electrical car and curriculum to accompany it from The Switch Electric Vehicle program. Along with Region 14, Mt. Washington Valley Carrer and Technical Center in Conway, Dover Regional Career and Technical Center and Nashua Technology Center also netted the opportunity.

“It is very exciting to see our partnership with The Switch Labs come to life and be able to deliver another engaging, career pathway-oriented learning opportunity to students,” said Frank Edelblut, Commissioner of Education. “I know Elon Musk is looking for talented and equipped students to work on the Tesla line of cars. Coming through this program, these students will be ready for real 21st century workforce challenges.”

“As electric vehicles increase in popularity, it is important that our graduating students are equipped to work in that field,” said Eric Frauwirth, Administrator of the Bureau of Career Development. “Through this program, each school will receive a kit to build a street-legal electric car, along with all of the educational materials and professional development training for the teachers. The goal is for students and teachers from multiple CTE programs (auto, engineering, electrical, etc.) to work together on the car build.”

Building the car itself will take place at the Mascenic Automotive program, which serves several area schools, according to Jennifer Kiley, the director of the Region 14 Career Technical Education center. But it’s not just automotive students who will have a hand in the final result.

“We’re really excited to have the opportunity because it’s not just for automotive students,” Kiley said.

Computer programming and networking students will be assisting, and graphic design students will design skins for the car, the manufacturing program designing and building some of the pieces, and marketing students will work to sell advertising opportunities.

“We really just want to make it cross-programmatic,” Kiley said.

For automotive students, Kiley said, it’s an opportunity to be exposed to an alternative to gas-powered engines, which is what they’re most likely to work on in the working garage that is part of the Mascenic automotive program.

“People are understanding more and more that these energy options are viable for their commuting needs. Students need to learn how traditional, gas-powered engines work, but also need to know about electric and solar vehicles, so they’re as competitive as possible when they enter the job market,” Kiley said.

Students will get their first opportunity to use the kit in the 2021-22 year, but it is designed to be built and then taken apart, Kiley said, and the car will be used by future students as well.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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