Hanna’s First E-Car Build Is Complete

The renewed emphasis on vocational education at Archbishop Hanna High School got a boost this year as Hanna joined four other area high schools in establishing a vocational training program for students to build and maintain a clean energy, street-legal electric car.

The program is part of a public-private partnership bringing together electric vehicle manufacturer Switch Vehicles of Sebastopol, the locally based Career Technical Education (CTE)Foundation, the Sonoma County Office of Education , and green energy provider Sonoma Clean Power who worked in concert to develop, fund and provide “The Switch Lab,” a patented electric car design and manufacturing grant program for secondary schools.

Hanna applied for the program last year, just as it was taking steps to upgrade its vocational education program on multiple fronts.

Hanna science teacher, Ron Bilberry, attended a week-long training in mid-January, and enlisted the help of boys from his “Conceptual Physics” class to tackle building the car from the chassis up.

Along the way, they learned a wide range of technical skills that should prove valuable when they enter the job market after leaving Hanna.

“This program has the potential to motivate every student involved and turn them on to science and technology in the real world,” says Bilberry. “They acquired skills and knowledge for vehicles that most people know very little about.

“The other great thing is we get to keep the car. We’ll break it down and rebuild it each year, but my dream is to raise enough money for a second car that we can make into a four-seater and use for campus tours and the like. Either way, this will be a great thing for Hanna.”

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