New auto lab car kit creates electrical opportunities

Sofia Williams, Staff Writer

Come this winter, the ETHS Auto Tech Lab will receive an addition to its curriculum that will prepare them for where the future is undoubtedly going: electric cars.

Through a small company in California, ETHS has ordered a premade electric car kit for the automotive curriculum and auto club. When put together, it will loosely resemble a Polaris Slingshot, with two wheels in front and one in back. 

“I’m very confident that [the auto industry] is going to electric vehicles. I mean it’s already happening, and I want to make sure that my students are prepared for that,” auto tech teacher Thomas Sprengelmeyer said. “There will definitely still be mechanical issues, but they need to be prepared to work on electric cars, [know] electrical diagnosis and dive heavier into that.” 

Sprengelmeyer wasn’t always enthusiastic about the idea of electric vehicles in the classroom due to concerns over student safety, however—with electric vehicles becoming more common—he believes knowing how to handle them is an important skill for his students to have. 

“We’re used to dealing with things that are flammable, things that are sharp, things that are heavy, but now [we’re] dealing with high voltages, making sure we’re ready to handle that and making sure everyone takes the right precautions. Working with electricity can be really safe, just like how it’s perfectly safe to work with a blowtorch, as long as you know how to use it and use it safely,” Spengelmeyer said. 

Auto Tech 2 students, alongside members of the E-Town Tuners (Auto Club), will be the ones building the car. Auto Tech 1 students will be able to learn about and run tests on the car during classes, and Auto Maintenance students will be able to utilize it as a learning resource because unlike a regular car, it’s easy to see how the systems work just by looking at it due to its open design. The best part is that when they’re done building the car at the end of the year, it can be disassembled and built all over again next year.

I am excited to see something from start to finish and to be a part of the whole experience,” junior Patrick Cawley said. “ETHS is very lucky to be getting this kit, it’s a really cool opportunity for auto students like me.”