Conspiracy theories aside, Bryan Scheider, BA ’03, MA ’09, isn’t sure why electric cars haven’t caught on. One thing’s sure, though: he’ll have one come hell or high water.
That may sound a bit more pressing than the need actually is, but Scheider’s been working to raise the money to make a gas-guzzling truck into a battery-powered one for about five years. And he doesn’t show any signs of soon giving up.
His latest attempt is his entry into the Pepsi Refresh Project, an initiative hosted by the soft drink giant to fund ideas that promote positive civic, environmental and social change. Scheider’s hoping to snag one of the top ten spots to earn $50,000 to make the electric conversion.
It might be a long shot to win a spot for which millions are vying, but it doesn’t matter. This has officially become one of Scheider’s life pursuits, this green way of living, and one he preaches about daily to his students as a high school physics and environment science teacher.
Back in 2003 after graduating from CSU, he had an epiphany of sorts after reading “Power to the People,” a book foretelling the coming of a great energy revolution that would essentially redefine life itself. The book brought an awakening, he says, that changed his entire perspective of energies and our responsibility to use Earth’s resources more wisely.
Soon after, he and his wife were in Las Vegas on teaching assignments, and he was researching how to convert his 1995 Sonoma pickup to run completely on rechargeable battery power. When he did eventually finish the project, he had eliminated his weekly trips to the gas station and had only tacked roughly $8 a week onto his monthly electric bill by recharging his truck every night. A few years later, he and his wife had their sights on moving back to Cleveland, and Scheider sold the truck considering all of the modifications he’d need to make once back in the very different Midwestern climate.
Now, he’s looking to use his mechanical know-how to make another "green" pickup, only this time even better. His proposed new vehicle will run on 300 volts of power, get about 100 miles on a single charge and recharge with a solar panel he plans to place over the bed of the new truck.
He figures if he doesn’t win the $50,000, he’ll keep plugging along, realizing it may take a little longer this time. He’s not financing the project on credit like, he begrudgingly admits, he did to complete the first conversion.
You can help boost his Refresh Project ranking, though. Visit www.refresheverything.com/electruk to vote for Scheider's project, but hurry because voting ends November 30.