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Published on November 6th, 2014 | by Steve Hanley


Plug-In EV Built By HS Students For $1600

November 6th, 2014 by  


At Tiverton High School in Rhode Island, two students and their teacher have built a plug in EV that is rated at an incredible 1552 MPGe for a total investment of $1584. The EV is named Apotheosis, which means the highest point of development or climax, and it is the successor to last year’s experimental car, called Endurance, that cost under $1000 and was rated at 425 MPGe.

The 2013 car used a frame made of PVC plastic pipe donated by a local plumber. An anonymous donor gave the school $565, which paid for bicycle wheels and brushless DC motor designed to power an electric-bike. All finished, Endurance weighed only 110 pounds and had a top speed of 18 mph. With three 12 volt batteries, it had a range of 30 miles.

Instructor Edwin Fernandes says the project took about 600 hours to complete. The two students, Alec Figueiredo and Ryan Mirka “fabricated a wiring harness to connect the controls, regenerative braking, the three sealed lead-acid, 12-volt, 18 ah batteries, and charge port (which made Endurance a Plug-In Electric Vehicle or PIEV). They added a multimeter, which acted as a “digital gas gauge” and even wired a switch for reverse.”  He adds, “We can talk all day on the blackboard about theory and about numbers and about math and electronics, but it’s best to go to the bench and prove what we have learned.”

Apotheosis-2014-EV-300x350For 2014, the students figured out how to make the chassis even lighter. They used better batteries, added solar panels to the roof and transformers to step up the power for the EV’s motor. The electricity from the solar panel helps to dramatically increase the range of the Apotheosis EV, giving it a 1,552 MPGe rating, making it nearly four times as efficient as their first effort.

If I were an employer in the automotive field looking for a new worker, I know I would much prefer hiring someone with real world experience building an actual car than one who aced his final exam but doesn’t know a rheostat from a rhinoceros. Kudos to the students, their instructor and Tiverton High School for making this project possible.

Source: Gas2. Reprinted with permission.

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About the Author

writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Rhode Island. You can follow him on Google + and on Twitter.

  • Wayne Williamson

    Very cool. to bad every high school doesn’t do something like this…..

    It would also be interesting to see what they could do with 1kwh lithium battery instead of 3*12*18 = 648wh or 0.648kwh. Weight would probably be reduce by 30 lbs(just guessing).

  • tibi stibi

    put this construction opensource, let people create 3d models for 3d printers and this can take off 🙂

    • Offgridman

      In the original article by the teacher on the STEM engineering page he said the original plans were donated by someone from Florida. So if you contact him you could get ahold of them.
      For doing version #2 the ‘apotheosis’ they made modifications by making the frame longer to accommodate the solar panel and going to a single rear wheel. More detailed pictures are also with the teacher’s post.
      While plans could be helpful to someone wanting to do a project like this, it would take a very big 3D printer, or you would have to make it in pieces and assemble it anyways. So it might be more practical to just do it with the pvc pipe as they did. The pipe is easy to find and relatively inexpensive for the quantities needed. I had to purchase some this past summer and twenty foot lengths of 2″ schedule 40 were a little under 12$ each.
      What is good about this project though is that it shows that people can tinker around and figure out how to make something for themselves. And what will make each one unique is to accommodate to what is easily and inexpensively available. In my family we have a tradition of building what we call doodlebugs, using pieces from cars, tractors, or whatever scrap is laying around. My grandfather and father did so, and I made several when I was younger, and my son’s are getting old enough that they are tinkering on one now. With the step change being that they are interested in powering it with an electric motor when we usually used gas fired engines.
      There are plenty of mass produced go-kart, ATV’s and other small vehicles out there both ICE and electrically powered. It will do our kids more good to interest them in figuring out how to make something of their own though and spend the time helping them, rather than just buying one. Not only for their education, but the family relationships that are strengthened by the memories of these projects, whether successful or failures.

  • Jenny Sommer
  • mk1313

    Nice educational project.

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