From Publishers Weekly
In 1995 the Virginia Power company hosted a competition for high schools in the mid-Atlantic region to convert conventional automobiles into electric vehicles (EVs). As it happened, out of habitual disregard for impoverished Northampton County in North Carolina, the company nearly forgot to invite the eventual winners. Aided by a handful of phenomenal teachers, some uncommonly bright and determined students and a pervading regional interest in automobiles fueled by NASCAR, the county was able to outperform schools of far greater pedigree and budget. Of course, the widespread, reflexive negative expectations provided no small motivation to the kids of Northampton County. They mastered problems involving electrical wiring, battery longevity, welding and aerodynamics in converting a 1985 Ford Escort to the aptly namedin more ways than one"Shocker." A resident of Richmond, Va., Kettlewell (Skin Game) brings just the right regional flavor to a can't-miss true story reminiscent of the movie Breaking Away. The word "inspirational" is applied to too many books, but it comfortably fits this one, with its genuinely likable cast of unlikely achievers. This is essential reading for any serious environmentalist, as it makes the case that EVs might play even in the conservative South. Even more, it contains profound lessons that everyone involved in the educational system would do well to heed.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This is a feel-good story about a competition that, for once, was not based on athletics. Instead it supported math, science, and technology education for high-school students by combining all three within a single project--converting a conventional car into an electric vehicle (EV). Two regional utilities backed a contest among a group of schools throughout the South to design and build EVs that would be judged during a contest to be held at NASCAR's Richmond International Raceway. An overexcitable neophyte science teacher and an unflappable, impassioned vocational technology instructor teamed up at a high school in the poorest county in North Carolina to mentor their students through the process. They found an old Ford Escort, dubbed Shocker; held countless fund-raisers to purchase hundreds of pounds of golf-cart batteries; and tested and re-tested their vehicle on the local back roads. By the time the hardworking team makes it to Richmond, where there is formidable competition from elite math academies, readers will be awaiting the results on the edge of their seats. Exciting and inspirational reading. Joanne WilkinsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved