West Phila. students are White House-bound

Posted: June 19, 2014

Students on the EVX Team thought they had until the end of June to finish building their fuel-efficient Factory Five 818 electric blue race car.

But then they found out they would have to get the project - one they have been working on their entire year at the Workshop School in West Philadelphia - finished about two weeks early.

The high schoolers stayed late weekdays and even came in on Saturdays to get the job done.

"It's kind of like a sports team, too," said Simon Hauger, creator and leader of the EVX Team. "People give up Saturdays and stay after school for practice."

They didn't mind. They figured a trip to the White House was a worthy cause.

The EVX Team, of students in the automotive technology and collision repair programs at the school, were invited just a few weeks ago to Wednesday's first White House Maker Faire in Washington.

"When I heard I was going to the White House, I was, like, 'This can't be true,' " said Joshua Pigford, an 11th grader who has worked on the car all year.

The EVX Team was created by Hauger in 1998 as an after-school program for students in West Philadelphia. After several years with the team, and seeing how project-based learning can benefit students, Hauger this year founded the Workshop School, where he is principal.

Hauger said it wasn't hard to get a group of teenagers excited about building a race car. The goal of the project: Take the kit donated by Massachusetts company Factory Five Racing for the 818 chassis, and adjust and adapt the car to make it not only fast, but also environmentally friendly.

The sports car, which can go up to 150 m.p.h., runs on biodiesel. The students make their own fuel from oil donated by Federal Donuts.

Despite running on recycled oil from doughnuts and fried chicken, the car is fast and efficient. Hauger said the team expected it to get at least 98 miles per gallon.


215-854-5607 @CaseyFabris

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