Friday, November 2, 2012

Students Learn About Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Students from Biddeford Regional Center of Technology (courtesy photo)

Students from the Biddeford Regional Center of Technology (BRCOT) joined Maine business, engineering and energy leaders to learn about the next generation of alternative fuel vehicles and check out a collection of electric and natural gas trucks and automobiles.
The Environmental and Energy Technology Council of Maine (E2Tech) and Maine Clean Communities (MC2) hosted more than 120 attendees at a two-part forum and workshop on electric vehicles (EVs) and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles at Texas Instruments in South Portland on October 25. Instructor Eddie Driscoll brought his Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Aided Drafting class to the forum “to promote the concept of learning outside the classroom and stimulate their interest in becoming part of Maine’s future technology workforce.” BRCOT serves high school students from Biddeford, Thornton Academy, Kennebunk, Old Orchard Beach, and Massabesic.
“The transportation sector is the largest source of energy costs and petroleum use in Maine,” said E2Tech executive director Jeff Marks. “We want to encourage high school and college students to become engaged in the innovation industry in Maine and help find solutions to reduce our dependence on oil, improve the environment and save money. What better way to do this than introduce them to Maine’s best engineers, business owners and energy experts? And, having cool, environmentally friendly sports cars on hand doesn’t hurt either.”
“It's not too often you get to see 89 miles per gallon with that kind of horsepower,” said Connor Morrison, a BRCOT senior from Biddeford after sitting in the driver’s seat of the Tesla Roadster electric sports car. Rhyan Paquereau, a junior at BRCOT agreed, “Interesting to see an electric car that can compete so well with its gasoline rivals.”
Panelists presented an overview of EVs and infrastructure, and John Carroll from Central Maine Power described the utility’s new pilot program to evaluate electric vehicles and to explore how to put more vehicles on the road in fleet and private use. In addition to the Tesla Roadster, Chevy Volts, Nissan Leafs, a CMP bucket truck, a natural gas van, solar charging station and even a 100 percent biodiesel car were on display.