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These 4 student-built cars were revving up at the Philly Auto Show

These rides sat alongside coupes and sedans from the world's top automakers.

Methacton High School students modified this old roadster to run on battery power. (Photo by Roberto Torres)
Welcome to the 2017 Philadelphia Auto Show.

Picture this: a sea of 700 gleaming coupes, sedans and SUVs spread across 700,000 square feet at the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s showroom floor on a busy Friday night for the yearly auto show.

In a far corner of the showroom, alongside the latest offerings from top brands Jeep, Ford and Land Rover, four student built rides sat proudly, flanked by the students who built or maintain them.

High schoolers from Montco’s Methacton High School Electric Car Club, accompanied by professor Steve Savitz, showed off their battery-powered Lomax ride, which can be charged by an adjoining truck that uses solar panels. The truck was transformed into a hands-on classroom focused on alternative fuels.

Although the car was acquired and transformed to run with electric power in 1999, the project is ongoing for the students, who are in charge of maintenance (with help from local businesses and grants from the Methacton School District).

A few yards over, we stumbled into this swankier formula racing car built by students from Temple Formula Racing club. The gas-powered ride goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds, as tested by the team in last year’s Formula SAE competition in Lincoln, Neb.

Saunter over a few more yards and find students from the Penn Electric Racing side inspecting their flagship Rev 2 car, which — reportedly — matched Tesla’s speed record  for an electric car at 105 mph. Behind it, a wall of trophies from competitions backed the bold claim.

Here’s Penn engineering student Lauren Hummel giving us the nickel tour of the ride:

And finally, here’s Villanova University’s VU08 model with its slick tires and streamlined body.

And speaking of alternative energy, we found one Philly startup stumping for their product at the convention. Inspire staffers were on site at the convention center trying to get people to switch over to wind power. (Catch ’em at Tuesday’s NET/WORK jobs fair at The Fillmore, too.)

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