The future of classic cars and auto enthusiasts alike could focus on electrification.
In the last year, both Aston Martin and Volkswagen have announced plans to help convert classic cars into fully electric vehicles, but these are designed as luxuries. For electric vehicles – especially electric vehicle conversions – to really take hold, that needs to start with younger generations, and that's exactly what one auto shop class in New Jersey has been doing since 2008.
Ron Grosinger, an instructor at Memorial High School in West New York, N.J., began teaching the EV conversions more than a decade ago with a single class of 27 students. Today, the auto shop department has four teachers and even offers an after-school program. More importantly, such an auto shop class is drawing in students who might not have otherwise had an interest in cars such as students from advanced math, science, physics and engineering studies.
“With the electric car, I wanted to prove two things. First, that we could convert it. Everyone was telling me at the time that it was impossible when really, we just didn’t have the option yet. Second, and most important, I wanted to prove that kids are super capable. You just have to give them a chance,” Grosinger said in a Volkswagen press release.
With Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) becoming more focal in today's schools, this type of course structure is a great way to teach students applied science and engineering principles through automotive applications. Better yet, it's a good way to get more female students involved. Grosinger has noticed an increase in female students since this program began, and his hopes are to get the male to female ratio closer to 50:50, although he did not state where the ratio stands currently.
As more EVs and hybrids are sold, the high schoolers in such programs will be better suited for repairs, restoration and even performance tuning down the road.