Electric truck donated to CBA
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 20, 2013 1:50 AM
Ed Cianfarra, right, Goldsboro's recently retired chief inspector, talks with Bryant Keel, automotive instructor at Charles B. Aycock High School, about the electric car Cianfarra built and donated to the school.
Students in the automotive program at Charles B. Aycock High School are learning more about green technology, thanks to the donation of an electric truck powered by solar energy.
The bright yellow vehicle, which resembles a miniature truck on bicycle tires, was built and owned by Ed Cianfarra, former chief inspector in Goldsboro's Inspections Department.
It took him several months to put together the battery-powered truck that can travel at speeds of up to 37 miles per hour.
While solar panels are responsible for keeping the battery charged, a power outlet provides its primary source for energy.
"For me, solar energy captured my imagination," Cianfarra said. "That's why I built the truck.
"I hope others who are exposed to this technology will also get excited about the possibilities for how this technology can be used."
Admittedly proud of his accomplishment, Cianfarra enjoyed using it for his daily commute to work.
That all changed recently when he left his post after more than 27 years working with the city.
"I just retired and am getting ready to travel," he said. "Rather than let the truck sit, I felt the students could benefit by learning how it works."
Bryant Keel, automotive teacher at CBA, was more than happy to accept the generous gift.
"Our school is very appreciative of the donation and we look forward to letting students get hands on with this electric vehicle," he said. "Not only will my students be exposed to the growing use of green energy and technology in the automotive field, but there may be interest by other classes to study the truck as a part of their curriculum."
Keel added that over the course of the school year, approximately 180 automotive students will have the opportunity to learn more about how the truck runs and the ins and outs of alternative energy.
"We have done some stuff with it in the short time since Mr. Cianfarra gave it to us," he said. "We have changed some stuff, modified it, made it more personalized to the school."
In addition to using it in his classes, there is potential for others to also benefit from the model truck.
"Our engineering class is building an electric truck out of PVP pipes. The instructor, Mr. (Steven) Thorne and I have talked about taking the dash apart on our electric truck and the students using it for a demonstration," Keel said.
"We have talked about some different things. I have actually talked to the instructors out at Wayne Community (about) doing some type of hybrid type vehicle in the future, something that students from Aycock and Wayne Community can do together."
The vehicle is expected to provide much in the learning process, Keel said. It will give students insight into alternative modes of transportation, as well as expand upon possible career options.
"It brings a lot to our program," he said. "It gives us something for the students to use and work with that we never had before. None of the students ever had a opportunity to work with any solar panel equipment, high-powered electric motors.
"It's a one-horsepower motor, which really doesn't sound like much, but that's pretty good output."
And for students who may have grown accustomed to the prevalence of golf carts, which travel at about 20 miles per hour, the truck's high speed of 37 mph is actually impressive, Keel said.
For the time being, the truck will be used as a teaching tool -- taking it apart and reassembling it, discussing how it works.
Having the added prototype, Keel said the potential is there to do more in the future.
"Right now the way the vehicle is set up, there's really not much as far as the electric system that can be modified," he said. "But later on, we can look at putting a larger motor in it."