Electric car debuts

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

Mesalands Community College’s Automotive Technology Department students will unveil their electric vehicle during today’s Cinco De Mayo celebration at 5:30 p.m.

“The students met every Wednesday for three hours this semester to build this car,” said Adrian Charbonnet, a Mesalands student.

Charbonnet said the class basically turned a 1993 Saturn Sedan into an electric vehicle.

“We gutted the car,” said Dustin Hight.

Hight said students removed the four-cylinder gasoline engine and gas tank and installed a battery-powered electric motor system.

“This is not a hybrid car,” Charbonnet said. “It is completely electrical. There is no secondary system of power for it to switch to.”

Charbonnet said the class built a metal mounting to house the electric motor kit and the four batteries placed in the front of the vehicle. He said the vehicle has a 120-volt system with 10 batteries (six of which are in the trunk).

“We test drove the vehicle and it will go 60-to-65 mph,” Hight said.

Instructor C.J. Gentile said the vehicle should be able to travel from Tucumcari to Logan and back on a single charge. He said the vehicle was mainly designed for in-town errands.

“The car can be fully charged in 12 hours if the power pack is completely depleted,” Gentile said.

Gentile said once the interior work is done on the vehicle the students will present it to the college for staff to use to run errands around town.

“This vehicle generates zero greenhouse emissions,” Gentile said. “It will work nicely with the wind energy program in promoting green jobs.”