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UNL prof getting students into electric cars



If you owned a $100,000 sports car, would you let more than 1,000 people — including strangers — drive it?

It’s safe to say most people would not.

Don Cox isn’t most people.

“The car pretty well takes care of itself and the driver,” he said. “Nobody’s crashed it.”

Among those he’s given a chance to drive his “radiant red” Tesla Roadster are the 23 students in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln class he teaches about electric cars. This is the first time the university has offered the one-credit course, which introduces students to the electric car’s history and benefits.

Cox retired in September from Stanford University, where he worked for 19 years as an electrical engineering professor and director of the Center for Telecommunications. Before that, he worked in mobile communications, including doing radio research for Bellcore and as a manager for Bell Laboratories.

Cox said one of his sons opened his eyes to the advantages of electric cars when he leased a General Motors EV1, one of the first mass-produced electric cars.

GM later repossessed the vehicles and smashed them, a controversial decision for those who had leased them and to environmentalists, who raised concerns about the oil industry’s involvement in the decision.

Before he lost the car, Cox’s son let his mom and dad drive it.


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