• Jun 6, 2012
Last year, TRANSLOGIC visited Kansas City for a behind-the-scenes look at Minddrive, an experiential EV eduction program for at-risk youth. After speaking to the students and driving their Project Lola electric car, we knew to expect great things from this passionate group.

So what's next for these amazing kids? On Monday, June 11th, Minddrive kicks off a tour across America dubbed "Electrifying Education Coast To Coast," which seeks to raise awareness (and funds) for the the non-profit organization.

"Kansas City isn't the only city in America where students are slipping through the cracks in the educational system because of socio-economic factors beyond their own control," said Minddrive mentor and co-founder Linda Buchner. "It's an issue in many cities and small towns across the country. We want to show that there is hope for these students by using a different learning model to reach them."

Of course, not just any car would do for this cross-country campaign, so students and mentors at Minddrive have converted a 1977 Lotus Esprit into a full electric vehicle. The plug-in Lotus is said to achieve incredible efficiency through the use of lightweight materials and aerodynamic improvements. The EV Esprit is propelled by 30 Li-ion batteries powering a chain-drive motor.

You can follow the entire trip at Minddrive's Coast-To-Coast 2012 website.
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Kansas City's MINDDRIVE Program Takes Electric Car Built By High School Students on Coast-To-Coast Demonstration Run

"Electrifying Education Coast-To-Coast" Begins June 11 in San Diego, Calif. and Ends June 22 in Jacksonville, Fla.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (June 1, 2012) – MINDDRIVE, a Kansas City non-profit organization using experiential learning techniques and a hands-on project with urban high school students has built an electric vehicle designed for a coast-to-coast demonstration run beginning in mid-June.

This electric car project is the catalyst for teaching potentially at-risk high school students in a way that allows those who are performing below their own age group to leap frog ahead in understanding through "doing" in a hands-on, experiential way. And "doing" amazing things makes their learning fun and keeps their imaginations piqued and their creativity energized, fresh and new.

"Kansas City isn't the only city in America where students are slipping through the cracks in the educational system because of socio-economic factors beyond their own control," said Linda Buchner, Co-Founder of MINDDRIVE. "It's an issue in many cities and small towns across the country. We want to show that there is hope for these students by using a different learning model to reach them."

Opportunities for the general public to interact with the car will occur by having the students who designed, fabricated, and documented the design process of the car give presentations and answer questions about their collaboration during their re-charging stops in each city and town along the way. Major city stops include San Diego, Tucson, El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, Baton Rouge, Mobile, Tallahassee and Jacksonville, a route that basically follows Interstate 10 from West to East across the southern portion of the United States.

The MINDDRIVE learning model involves the utilization of adult mentors who work directly with each student to identify and facilitate understanding of big concepts in math, science, innovation and creativity. It is their goal to utilize the current global issues of our time as the learning tool that not only teaches the students about environmental issues like alternative fuel and energy conservation, but also creates global citizens as a result of being involved in the class.

Steve Rees, Co-Founder and CEO of MINDDRIVE said, "This project will be an illustration of how with a nationwide charging grid and quick-charging technology an electric car could be viewed as much more than an "urban car" by all types of individuals and families who are wanting an alternative fuel-powered car."

The "Electrifying Education Coast To Coast" trip will travel from San Diego, Calif. to Jacksonville, Fla. in a converted 1977 Lotus Esprit that has been dramatically altered to achieve the highest level of efficiency while keeping the car safe to drive on the highway.

Working with private foundations and corporate sponsorships, including Bridgestone Americas, SONIC®, America's Drive-In®, KCP&L, Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Kansas City, The Kirk Foundation, The McDonnell Foundation, ASME, Emfluence, VML, The Karbank Foundation and Applebee's International, and many individual donors with giant hearts, MINDDRIVE intends to create the journey of a lifetime for this group of hard-working urban high school students.

The trip will be a major fundraising effort on a grass roots level, allowing individuals and interested organizations to become a partner in this journey, following along the way by visiting the www.minddrive.org/c2c "live" web page that will have GPS tracking, a Buy-A-Mile campaign, and a showcase of social media including Twitter (@MINDDRIVEorg) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/minddrive) feeds, daily video uploads and blog entries written by the students each day. The program's development of the car, along with the trip across America and the derivative analytics will be made into a short documentary.


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