Topsail High’s electric vehicle program wins national championship again

HAMPSTEAD, NC (WWAY) — Topsail High School’s electric vehicle class has won nearly 200 awards since 2001. Last month, students in the course were named national champions for the 11th year in a row.

“It’s like any other class that you can take in high school,” student Zac Bender said.

Class starts at 7:30 a.m. each days ahead of the school’s official start time.

“We meet before school every day for an hour,” instructor Stephen Jeffcoat said.

For an hour a day, five days a week, 11 students build electric cars.

“We take out the gasoline engine, and we put in an electric motor and add batteries. That powers the motor. It will turn the transmission and make the car go,” senior Grant Simme said.

Students have already transformed two vehicles that ran on gas to battery powered, and they created what they call the “Stem Cycle” from scratch.

Most of the students agree they are lucky to have this engineering experience.

“I’ve always been a gear head, so I knew I would be working on cars, but not anything like this,” Bender said.

This year the class took it up a notch and added a few features to the cars; features many drivers may take for granted.

“A heater for the winter time, and other things to make it more comfortable to drive,” Jeffcoat said.

It’s a drive that certainly fuels their passion.

“The obvious thing is driving the cars. It’s probably one of the best parts,” Bender said.

The program kicks students’ minds into high gear; kicking gas one class at a time.

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