Jeremy Hay, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The students from Analy High School’s automotive and electromechanical technologies class trooped from one room into another in Switch Vehicles’ Sebastopol workshop, where a control box for an electrical car was being assembled.
“When you guys see this in here, we are going to build it in class,” their teacher, Sean Fleming, called out. “It’s going to look great on a college application.”
Analy High is one of five Sonoma County schools where students will build electric cars from the chassis up as part of a public-private partnership that hopes to create a flow of sought-after employees and, eventually, to strengthen the local market for alternatively powered vehicles.
Switch Vehicles, an electric vehicle manufacturer that has started the program in 15 high schools and colleges nationally, will train teachers in a curriculum it designed and provide vehicle kits to the schools.
The program brings together Switch with the county’s independent power agency, its office of education and a private local foundation. It is more than a course in assembling parts, said Peter Oliver, co-founder of the company.
“They go a lot more in-depth into the mechanics and components of an electric vehicle. Students write reports, they do homework, they learn Ohm’s Law (a precept governing electricity),” Oliver said.