In the process of the project,...
In the process of the project, the car was completely stripped and rebuilt. The purpose was not only to produce an electric vehicle that runs as well as possible with minimal glitches, but also to help the students gain a thorough understanding of every mechanical and electrical component on the car.
"Even though we aren't working on the car right now, there are still learning opportunities for our students," he explained. "Many have other projects that they are working on while helping out with the Mustang. Some are learning web programming and building a new website (www.lab306.com
); others are making plans on how we will upgrade the car, and others are gaining presentation and business skills by taking the car to local shows and meeting with business leaders to talk about what we are doing. It is all still beneficial to the students, even if actual work on the car is stopped for right now."
For the next go-round, John and his Lab 306 students are eyeing a larger 11-inch motor capable of greater torque and speed, a high-capacity array of lithium ion batteries, and a Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission to reduce rotating mass (and eliminate the troublesome clutchless shifts); maybe also a new motor controller and new heavy-gauge electrical cables, but the paint will doubtlessly stay the same, and the various odds and ends that make a show car shine will be left off. This is a functioning test platform and every dollar counts.
Now this is dedication. Students...
Now this is dedication. Students completely rewired the Mustang, refurbishing and reusing as many stock components as possible.
John estimates that Lab 306 needs to raise $14,000 to upfit the car--less if they can find what they are looking for used--and he hopes his kids will be able to get to turning wrenches again in the 2012-2013 school year.
The Electric Fox will probably never stay the same for long. It's too valuable as a learning tool. The original 5.0-liter engine was long ago sacrificed to make way for electric power, but the Fox still retains its original cool, and the students say they are much more eager to work on a modern (if electric) musclecar than some four-door grocery-getter or economy crackerbox.
What better place to put the...
What better place to put the quick charge plug than inside the fuel filler door?
In the long run, the odds are slim that any of the students from Lab 306 will ever wind up designing cars for Ford or any other major manufacturer. But that's OK, because the goal of the McMichael High School Technology, Engineering & Design program isn't simply to produce a single automotive engineer, but rather dozens and dozens of extremely qualified young men and women in a variety of different careers. So far, the Electric Fox is helping to do exactly that.
Horse Sense: For reference, Ford is making its own move into electric vehicles. Thanks to a sizable engineering push, the '12 Focus Electric offers an equivalent of 100 mpg and a range of 100 miles.
Working on the Electric Fox project involves much more than turning wrenches. The Lab 306 project is designed to teach students a wide variety of useful skills. As an example, here is a list of just part of the Lab 306 team that built the Electric Fox. By the way, "School Initiative" means teaching other students what they themselves have learned.
- Hunter Foulks Mechanic
- Quintin Dickerson Mechanic, Driver
- Dylan Garner PR, Lab 306 Blog
- Clinton Blankenship Website, Mechanic
- Tyler Haney Paint, Poster, Graphic Design
- Lucas White School Initiative, PR
- Ryan Price School Initiative, PR
- Graham Beasley Website, Video Production
- Nathan Connor Graphic Design
- Spencer Griffin Electrical
- Eli Strickland Electrical
"Not everybody gets to work on the electric Mustang. You have to earn your way onto the team, so it makes you want to work harder"--Lab 306 student