The future of America is in good hands. I had the chance today to participate in "The Great American Teach-In" at Auburndale Central Elementary School. They had a very well structured and organized program, which gave me the opportunity to address two separate groups of fourth and fifth graders. I spent about 20 minutes in the classroom and then spent ten minutes with them outside at the Electric Truck. At the end they all gathered together outside to see my car follow a gasoline dune buggy drive around the PE field.
One little girl asked, while I was explaining a serial hybrid, “where do you put the cereal?” What a great question.
I told the children they are the future of America. I asked if they knew the story of Paul Revere? I told them, like Paul Revere, I was there to tell them the Electric cars are coming. We talked about the flexibility of Electric vehicles because they use electricity generated from a wide variety of energy sources.
We went over the list, consisting of solar, wind, Hydro electric, nuclear, geo thermal, tidal and fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil. We had fun with that for a while and then we went into parallel and serial hybrids and battery electric vehicles. You might think this is too much for these young people, but I used some very nice schematics from an MIT paper. I explained that the Toyota Prius is a parallel hybrid and that both the Gasoline engine and the electric motor drive the wheels. I mentioned that in the Chevy Volt, a serial hybrid, only the electric motor drives the wheels.
This is the fun part, that they related to very well. I asked them if they knew the song that tells about the dry bones. The leg bone’s connected to the hipbone etc. Well they really got into, . . . the gasoline engine’s connected to the generator the generator’s connected to the battery and the battery’s connected to the electric motor and the electric motor’s connected the wheels and the wheels go round and round. The whole class was chanting the litany of connections in a serial hybrid. Who would have thought?
We went from there to the Battery Electric vehicle with just the battery and the electric motor. It was easy to make the point about the simplicity of the BEV. They caught on to that right away.
So, I would like to encourage you to visit these younger children at their schools. You don’t have to talk down to them, but you do need to work at their level. They are very smart and very interested in energy and the environment and what we all are doing.
The experience was very rewarding.
About your presentation to the Elementary Students. You did a good job, but partly they "get" electric cars, because that's what they have been driving.
I've been shopping for an affordable plug-in electric car and, so far, all I've found, is in the bicycle department at Walmart. The kids have a large selection of EV's to choose from, while we adults have diddley-squat. I almost fit in the Deere truck. Top speed 4 MPH and just under $300. It also has room for 2 grocery bags.