Thursday, February 12, 2009

Investing The Stimulus Money In Smart Kids And Their Green Projects

posted by Ira Flatow on Tuesday, February 3. 2009

How about taking some of that stimulus and bailout money we're investing in Detroit and investing it in kids who know how to get the job done?

Case in point: West Philadelphia High School Hybrid X Team. The high school students there built a car that gets 100 miles per gallon. They did it as an after school project. And they used commonly available, off the shelf parts, based on a Ford Focus chassis. That means this car could even past highway safety standards, long the nemesis of new car designers.

This is no elite, high priced academy. It's an inner city, urban high school. But what these kids have that a carload of Detroit car designers lack is the inability to say it can't be done. They just went out and did it.

As the team's leader teacher Simon Hauger told us on Science Friday, the school is entering the competition for the automotive X-Prize.

"If an inner city high school can do it, that says something," says Hauger of their hybrid car they will enter into the competition. The car will run 60 miles on a charge of electricity, and can be charged overnight. So why are we waiting 2 years for a Chevy Volt that gets 40 miles on a charge? These kids did that in 2004.

And the 100 mph car they are building now is one "even school teachers can afford," between 20-$25,000.

Why aren't we investing our stimulus money in these kids and others like them? Hello!!!!

This is a win-win situation. We invest our money in green technologies ready to use today. And we reward kids from the inner city for their smarts and moxie.

Mr. President, next time you want to visit a cutting edge, mean, green factory head out to West Philly.

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