Social media can now power a car – or at least the all-electric 1967 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia rebuilt by high school students in Kansas City. A project of educational nonprofit Minddrive, the car is powered by watts from tweets, shares, posts and likes, in a mission to “drive change in education.”
Each year, the nonprofit accepts 30 students from Kansas City or nearby who are “slipping through the cracks” in the traditional educational system (many were expelled from high school). Now in its third year, the program has produced one electric car per year, through a combination of student efforts and guidance from engineers and 10 adult mentors.
The car will be driven in shifts – by any of the students who have a legal license – on an educational tour from Kansas City to Washington, D.C. Using social media as fuel requires the program’s students to make connections with other students and people along the way; if the students fail to earn 71,040 watts of “social fuel,” they won’t make it to the capital. A follow on Twitter is worth 5 watts; a Facebook like is worth one watt.
The Karmann Ghia was adapted to support an electrical propulsion system powered by lithium-ion batteries, reports the Chicago Tribune. An Arduino computer connects the drive train to the cloud and registers — in realtime — the wattage of each social media action.
We love the combination of education and social media. Check out Minddrive.org to follow the journey in realtime and help power the car through your own shares, likes and tweets.