Electric Vehicle Expo in Tampa features high school student mechanics

Vocational training sets up students for future

TAMPA - Like any auto show, the International EV Expo features the flashy, the futuristic and the expensive -- including the all electric, high performance Fisker at $107,000.   

But on the far side of the A La Carte Pavilion, there were more familiar wheels. Older Porches, less shiny, had their gas guzzling engines swapped out for batteries and control panels.   

One of these cars, a 1984 Porsche 944 was brought up from Broward County by a high school auto shop teacher and three of his senior students.

Lowell Simmons teaches and supervises students who maintain, show, race and repair the Porsche that he claims is the fastest 944 on record. More importantly he says, his students get valuable vocational training.

"If we tear this trans axle out in a race, the next day one of my students will be pulling the back end off of it and going through it.  You can't get that kind of stuff anywhere," said Simmons

Miramar High School senior  Lemaro Mighty believes retrofitted electrics might have more appeal than the exotic EV's and hybrids from the major manufacturers.

"If you see something that looks similar to what you have, closer to home, you're going to be drawn towards it more. I feel like it's more the future. It looks like what people have," said Mighty.

Lemaro Mighty and his classmates are seniors are Miramar High School in Broward County.  As part of an EV vocational program, they travel the country with their teacher, showing, racing  and repairing the modified Porsche 944.

Student Shawn Goshine is learning a trade, but still plans to get a college degree.

"I've got to get that and then also go after the trade also. It's good to know how to use your hands," said Goshine.

Teacher Lowell Simmons and his electric vehicle team have racked up a trunk load of trophies, but not all his expenses are covered by the school district.  He says their reserves are shot and need private sponsors.  More information can be found at  http://miramarev.com/

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