Let's spin back the clock and return to our high school days. It's sophomore year all over again. You attend some classes, eagerly await the lunch bell, spend a few more hours pouring over algebra, physics, and some American lit. Finally, the bell rings. You dash out the doors to freedom or, if you we're a jock, then you probably sprinted over to the athletic field to get your game on. That's a typical high school day for a lot of teens, but 16-year-old Azeem Hill ain't like the other kids. The school he attends is quite different as well.
Hill attends the West Philadelphia High School Academy of Automotive & Mechanical Engineering. 13 years ago, Simon Hauger, an instructor at the school, created an after-school hands-on automotive program that focused on building hybrid vehicles. A few years back, Hauger decided that his students, with the help of several instructors, would create a vehicle to compete in the Automotive X Prize.
In stepped 16-year-old Azeem Hill who, with the rest of the West Philly Hybrid X Team, built two vehicles to enter in the X Prize competition. One vehicle, the EVX Focus, performed admirably and advanced to the Knockout Stage. The other vehicle, the EVX GT, competed in the alternative (side-by-side) class but was knocked out of the competition as well. Still, these high school kids take pride in their accomplishments. The West Philly team beat giants like MIT and crushed some multi-million dollar entrants, and they did it all on a shoestring budget.
Just how capable is the hybrid EVX GT? Let's see. It runs to 60 miles per hour in five seconds, boasts a top speed of 150 miles per hour and is claimed to return 100 mpge in city driving. Not bad for some high school kids on a tight budget. Interested in finding out more? Make the jump to watch Hill and Hauger discuss the vehicle and the importance of the West Philly Hybrid X Team.