As the end-of-day bell resonates through the halls of Philadelphia’s high schools, the members of EVX Team close their books and pop the hood of a car. But rather than your typical tune up, the team of students from the Academy for Automotive and Mechanical Engineering in West Philadelphia work on turning an average car into an eco- and consumer-friendly machine.
The EVX Team after-school program has been encouraging students to further their studies in math and science through hands-on projects for 13 years. The current team has made impressive progress in combining sustainability, safety, speed and style in automobile design, attracting national attention from the likes of President Obama to Wyclef Jean. They even graced the GRID cover in July 2010.
In addition to a slew of previous awards, EVX Team recently won Popular Mechanics Next Generation Breakthrough Award for their work in creating a Factory Five GTM biodiesel hybrid kit car and a converted Ford Focus gasoline plug-in hybrid, both of which get over 100 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) in the city. The award was part of a larger competition for the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize. EVX made it to the semi-finals as the only high school team of 111 total competitors, most of which were from colleges and major corporations.
EVX is now gearing up to win the People’s Choice Award in the Partnering for Excellence Competition: Innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education sponsored by Ashoka's Changemakers. A grant of $20,000 will be awarded to the organization that best sparks students’ interests in the fields of math, science, technology and engineering. The winners will be chosen through online votes from the public. The voting period has ended, but check in with the competition's website on November 15 to see how EVX did!
- Missy Steinberg