About

Project Leadership

Faculty Sponsor:                  Matt James                mjames@winchester.k12.ma.us

Technical Leader:                Joe Randolph           jpr3@aol.com

Community Liaison:           Debe Holland           debe.holland@comcast.net

Background

Last year the EV Club converted a 1992 Chevy S10 pickup to all-electric power.  Through a concerted effort, the club got the S10 running in time to participate in the Enka Parade in May 2009.  Since then it has made numerous appearances throughout Winchester as a promotional device for the EV Club and the Technology program at WHS.  The S10 is fully operational, but there are several details that still need to be completed.  The S10 will be sold later this year to raise funds for our next project.

Our next project is to convert a 1996 Mazda Miata to all-electric power.  For this project we hope to use an AC motor drivetrain that is more advanced than the DC motor we used in the S10.  Students who worked on the S10 last year will learn first hand how the two EV technologies compare.  Students joining the club this year will have the opportunity to work on both vehicles.

Goals

The construction of these two vehicles is intended to be a hands-on educational activity for WHS students.  There will be opportunities for students to pursue a wide variety of interests, including general automotive mechanics, metal fabrication, electronics, paint, and graphic design.  Students may participate in any portion of the work that interests them.

“Solar Powered”

These EVs will be “solar powered” in the sense that the energy drawn from the public power grid to charge the batteries will be only a portion of the energy delivered into the public power grid by an array of solar panels on the roof of WHS.  The solar panels are being installed as part of a separate project sponsored by the Winchester Solar Challenge.

Meeting Times

Adult leaders will be available to assist students in the WHS technology lab every Monday from 6 PM to 9 PM.  Additional lab hours may be scheduled as needed.

Guiding Principles

1)  Achievable

The implementation of the EV must be one that is achievable within one school year when implemented by high school students who do not necessarily have any background with automotive engineering.

2)  Students Will Do Most of the Work

The intent is to have the students themselves perform the majority of the actual work, with guidance and assistance from the adult leaders.

3)  Safe

It is important that the design of the EV incorporates reasonable provisions for the safety of people who work on it or drive it.

In view of the above, the assigned adult Technical Leader will have the final say on decisions related to the design and implementation of the EV.  An effort will be made to accommodate suggestions made by the students, but the Technical Leader will weigh those suggestions against the above criteria when deciding how to proceed.

Team Assignments

For the first few weeks, our work will be informal as students become familiar with the two vehicles and investigate project tasks that interest them.  Eventually we will divide into teams to pursue specific tasks.  Each team will have an adult leader from the community.  The team arrangement presently planned is as follows:

  • Chassis (suspension, steering, brakes, motor mounting)
  • Battery Pack (battery selection and battery box construction)
  • Controls (all electronics, including motor controller and 12V systems)
  • Body and Interior (paint, graphics, body repair, seats, carpet)

Special Projects

In addition to the overall work being performed by the four teams, some special projects will be available for one or two students working in conjunction with an adult mentor.  These project-based activities are intended to provide a focused learning opportunity for students who wish to explore a specific area of technology.  Following are some special projects that have been identified, but others may be added later:

  • Create and maintain a web site for documenting EV Club activities.
  • Use SolidWorks mechanical design software to evaluate options for fitting the necessary battery boxes into the Miata.  A student version of the professional-grade SolidWorks software is available in the WHS Technology Lab.
  • Design and build a tachometer (motor speed indicator) for the S10.  This is mostly a mechanical design and fabrication task, with just a little bit of electronics.
  • Design and build a “fuel gauge” that will give a reliable indication of the remaining charge in the battery pack.  This project will involve designing a simple electronic circuit and programming a microprocessor to make the necessary calculations and display the results.
  • Make minor repairs to the Technology Lab’s machine tools (drill press, lathe, and mill) and get some hands-on experience using them to fabricate selected EV parts out of steel and aluminum.

Sponsors

Funding for the EV program at WHS has been provided by the following sources:

  • ENKA Society
  • Winchester Foundation for Educational Excellence
  • WHS PFA
  • Murphy Foundation