More than just a car

Missouri students and volunteer mentors are building a lightweight all-electric vehicle, but it’s more than just a car, Wired reports.

The car is the creation of Minddrive, an after-school program in Kansas City, Missouri that mentors students performing below their grade levels in traditional school environments. The kids meet every other Wednesday and on Saturday mornings and learn about automotive design and contemporary communications with mentors who work in the students’ fields of study. The auto-design students learn computer-aided design, welding and electrical engineering, while the communications students learn to promote the car as if the design studio was a client.

The team plans to drive the car  2,400 miles from Jacksonville, Florida to San Diego during spring break.

“We’re trying to take kids who haven’t been engaged in school and hook them to an expanded vision of what their future might be,” said Steve Rees, the program director.

Last year, students worked on a wrecked Lola Champ Car, even testing it out at Bridgestone’s Texas proving grounds. Those students are now learning advanced 3D modeling and Solidworks, while a new crop of kids — equal numbers of boys and girls — are working on the Reynard. So far, four kids have graduated from the program and each one is employed or in school.

“Our kids do this because they’re inspired to be there every week, to work with adults and do hands on things,” said Rees.



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  1. Deirdre Mundy says:

    So it’s a trade program (welding, electrical, CAD) disguised as “after school fun?”

    A shame the kids can’t just have access to the trades during their normal school day…

  2. Bill Leonard says:

    Your analysis is spot-on, Deirdre.

    Have a chat, if posible, with your local LaborCouncil (or whatever it may be called in your area, but trust me, there is one in every ubran locale) about why they oppose any program, apprenticeship or otherwise, that they do not directly and totally control.