Zephyr Cove Elementary plugs into electric cars | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Zephyr Cove Elementary plugs into electric cars

Dylan Silver
Dylan Silver / Tahoe Daily TribuneA Zephyr Cove sixth-grader plugs in a Chevrolet Volt for charging during a presentation on electric cars at the school.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Wrapping up an education unit on alternative energy, students at Zephyr Cove Elementary were introduced to electric vehicles by NV Energy’s Travis Johnson, manager of the company’s electric transportation division. Johnson showed the kids how the cars work, the savings over gasoline, the positive effects on the environment and even how to plug in and turn on an electric car.

“I thought this was a powerful message that I wanted to share with as many students as I could,” said 6th-grade teacher Amy Hope.

The students sat attentively as Johnson compared the price of gas with the price of electricity. They answered ‘natural gas’ when Johnson asked how Nevada gets the majority of its electricity. They followed his calculations of how many electric cars could be plugged in without major upgrades to the power grid.

“You’re going to see this a lot more as you get older,” he told them while showing a slide of an electric car being plugged in.

Every major car manufacturer and dozens of small companies are working on electric vehicles or are already selling them commercially. Johnson has two on reserve, a Nissan Leaf and a Tesla Model S, and he brought NV Energy’s Chevrolet Volt for the students to look at.

“They know it’s going to save a lot of money and help the environment,” Hope said after the presentation. “Those are the two things I wanted them to take away.”

Johnson calculated that an electric car can save drivers $23,000 in gas money over the course of six years. Johnson has driven the Volt nearly 1,500 miles. He’s only used six gallons of gas.

“I could probably go a year without putting gas in this thing,” Johnson said. “It’s so fun trying to never buy gas again.”

The presentation was funded by a Green Power Schools grant from the Desert Research Institute. The students also learned about solar cars and took a field trip to Reno to see solar panels being installed.

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