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Electric Car Fuels Dreams

Converting Monte McCord’s 1988 Porsche 924 from gas power to electric is a project taken on by the Payson High School auto shop class. Although staff turnover and summer vacation has slowed the work, McCord hopes his dream of an off-the-grid car comes true. Photo by Andy Towle. | Buy a print of this

By Michele Nelson

#Its engine leans on a wall across the room — like a discarded idol of the petroleum era.

#Crawling around in the back examining the rear compartment — or what is left of it — Junior Keith Breyer often stops, looking perplexed.

#“We’re cleaning up the sides,” he said. “Once we get some sheet metal we can put 10 batteries in the back.”

#He’s a student in the Payson High School (PHS) Auto Shop class. He and fellow classmates are converting the Porsche from a gas- to electric-powered car.

#The car belongs to Monte McCord, a Payson retiree committed to getting completely off the grid. He’s installing solar panels on his home, tends a plot in the Community Garden and volunteers for Transition Town.

#“My dream is to charge this car and my home using solar energy,” he said.

#McCord also believes in educating youth.

#A year ago, after reading an article in the Roundup about the PHS Auto Shop students, he decided to bring his Porsche project to the class to give the kids a chance they will never experience — even on the job — changing a petroleum-powered car to a fully electric car.

#“They’re not doing this at regular auto shop schools,” said McCord. “It’s a great opportunity for the kids.”

#Most car companies either make internal combustion engines or electric cars. No one really converts a car, unless they have commitment.

#Benefits of Electric Vehicles (EV)

#On its Web site, the U.S. Department of Energy lists benefits of an electric car compared to a gas-powered car:

#• Electric vehicles (EV) convert about 59-62 percent of the

#electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels. Gas-

#powered vehicles convert only 17-21 percent of the energy

#stored in gasoline to power at the wheels.

#• EVs emit no pollutants from their tailpipes, but offset that on

#the pollutants power companies emit to make electricity.

#• EV motors require less maintenance; give quiet, smooth

#operation and a stronger acceleration.

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