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MONROE — Organizers of a small gathering of electric and hybrid-electric cars today at Monroe County Community College decided to open the event to the public to give people a no-pressure opportunity to check out electric vehicle technology.
Tom Harrill, assistant professor of electronics technology at MCCC, said the school’s electronics faculty originally planned the expo as an exercise for a machinery and power control electronics class, but quickly decided it would be a good way to educate the public and students.
“You have to increase awareness of what it’s about,” Mr. Harrill said. “There are so many misconceptions about electric cars, and that’s a hindrance.”
Organizers expect about a dozen cars, including a Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf, Ford C-Max, Honda Accord, and a new $75,000 Cadillac ELR. The vehicles are on loan from local dealerships.
A small electric vehicle built by MCCC students a couple of years ago also will be on display.
“Our intent was originally to race it, but it’s kind of become a showpiece at this point,” he said. “It was a great learning tool, and it’s a lot of fun to drive.”
Mr. Harrill said there has been solid interest in electric vehicle technology from students at the college, and he sees today’s expo as a way to give them some hands-on experience.
“I want students to know this could be a possible career for them,” he said. “There are a lot of avenues they could get into. Design, dealing with battery chemistry. If for [nothing] else, to show them all the stuff they’re learning in class actually has an application.”
The expo runs from 5 to 9 p.m. at MCCC’s main campus. The cars will be parked near the school’s electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot in front of the La-Z-Boy Center.