North Medford High School student Ruby Jacobsen sat in the shell of a car this week in the institution’s auto store, where she is learning how to be a diesel mechanic.
Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Tai Adams and Ruby Jacobson examine the framing of an electric vehicle with their instructor Scott Childers at North Medford High School on Thursday.
It might not seem like much now, but when this shell becomes a car, it will be battery operated.
“We don’t usually do electrical stuff in the store, so it’s definitely going to be different,” she said.
Thanks to a donation from the Rogue Valley Clean Cities Coalition, Jacobsen, his classmates and students in Rogue Valley will be able to build and operate electric vehicles.
The coalition reached an agreement with the Medford School District to sponsor a switch lab kit, priced at $ 40,000. The kit will be used by North Medford High School, South Medford High School, Central Medford High School and Medford Online Academy.
In addition, the coalition purchased two “smaller and lighter” vehicles, priced at $ 5,000 each, for advanced internship students. The vehicles will be used by Ruch Outdoor Community School, Hedrick Middle School, McLoughlin Middle School and Jackson Elementary School.
Grant Cory, a professor of auto mechanics at South Medford, said he traveled to California with other local instructors to learn how to build the electric vehicles students currently have.
“We know that’s what you’re going to find in the service bays – they’re already there,” Cory said. “We knew we had to build this into our lesson plan. “
Michael Quilty is the coordinator of the Rogue Valley Clean Cities Coalition. The group is part of an effort the US Department of Energy created in the mid-1990s to advocate for alternative fuels and technologies to save energy.
Today, there are more than 75 entities across the country, like the local coalition of clean cities, with the same goal: to invest in the overhaul of the workforce.
“We’ve noticed for quite some time that a big barrier to getting alternative fuels is training technicians to work on vehicles,” Quilty said. “We have also noticed that it can be difficult to train skilled workers in a small community, and our board is committed … to trying to influence the children of the valley to consider careers in this field. “
Hal Jones, Career and College Preparation Coordinator for the Medford School District, presented a proposal for a middle and high school curriculum to engage children in alternative fuels.
“We [wanted to] to promote increased technical knowledge among middle and high school students about the benefits of the auto industry’s move towards full adoption of electrical technology, ”Jones said. “By all accounts, it looks like by 2035 all of the world’s major automakers will have adopted electric platforms for all of their vehicles.”
Jones and others have cited Volvo’s recent announcement that it will go all-electric by 2030 as an example of the importance of electric vehicles. Just this week, the company said the switch from combustion engines to electric motors was “not free,” and that was one of the main reasons it was listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in Stockholm.
Tai Adams, a high school student from North Medford High School, remembers being in Las Vegas for the annual SEMA Show and seeing the electric vehicle that was donated to his school.
“I haven’t given it much thought,” Adams said. “Then our teacher said we had one, and I said, ‘Hey, that’s cool. It will be a big project. ‘ i think it’s awesome [the clean cities coalition] donated it to us.
This teacher, Scott Childers, heard about the electric vehicle program a few years ago and thought it was something his students should learn. So when he heard from Jones that the district was investing in buildable electric vehicles, his response was, “Let’s do it.”
Childers, who was an auto mechanic before teaching, said his students would use more than electric vehicle kits – they would take advantage of textbooks and other aids to use a program on this part of the auto industry.
“We can just use it over and over again,” Childers said. “Electric vehicles are not going anywhere. They are the technology of today and the wave of the future. We need to prepare children to work on electric vehicles.