Scott Aljects works on his converted Chevrolet S-10 / photo: The Telegraph
By Tray Wetherell
Lewis & Clark Community College will be offering for the first time, a course in converting regular cars and trucks into ecologically friendly electronic vehicles. Presented as “How to Build an Electric Vehicle”, Instructor Scott Aljects will speak on the history of electric vehicles, safety concerns with high voltage direct current systems, conversion systems that are available to consumers, and the physical steps in converting vehicles to electric.
As part of its ongoing concern with environmental sustainability, Lewis & Clark Community College offers individuals and students many opportunities to learn about what they can do to help the environment, save money, and increase awareness about environment concerns in the region.
Aljets, owner of his own automotive repair shop, has been testing various methods for months in preparation for the course offering. Spending substantial time preparing for the course Aljets found a test vehicle, took out the old gas engine, installed an adapter kit specifically designed for the test vehicle, changed the power steering to manual, installed a new heating and air condition system, and outfitted the vehicle with batteries for electrical use.
In an interview with Lewis & Clark reporter Laura Griffith, Aljets commented “The hardest thing was trying to decide what vehicle I wanted to use. There are different options and they kind of go by what your goals are,”
The vehicle, which has been tested at going around 70 miles per hour costs next to nothing per mile and has no emissions, going around 45 miles per charge depending on usage represents an example of what potential students could accomplish with their own vehicles if given the opportunity and time to convert their own vehicles.
While there are numerous web sites selling people on converting vehicles to electric, Lewis & Clark presents the opportunity for those interested in working hands on with electric conversion techniques, pitfalls, and concerns that only can be seen physically and not through a monitor or book.
While no prerequisites exsist for enrolling for the course, it is recommended that students be familiar with automobile mechanics. “How to Build an Electric Vehicle” is offered by the Corporate and Community Learning division of Lewis & Clark Community College, and will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the main Godfrey Campus. For more information on the class, call 618-468-5777 or visit www.lc.edu.