With the price of gasoline on the rise, engineers across the country have been working at a faster rate attempting to create new vehicles that run on other types of fuel.
Students from the Area 30 Career Center have thrown their hat in the mix as well.
On Tuesday, students and instructors from Area 30 invited board members to test drive the Dixie Hybrid car.
North Putnam Community School Corp. Supt. Murray Pride took the wheel of the vehicle with his passenger Norm Stockton, Eminence School Corp. Supt.
Although instructors on Tuesday told the superintendents the car currently had a broken axle, it still managed to drive around the parking lot of the center.
Following his short trip, Pride suggested the vehicle be put on display at the Putnam County Fair in July.
"The faster you ran it, the better it was," Pride said.
Students at the center began the project and completed during the second semester of the school year. It was completed for $30,000, which was provided by several sponsors.
The Dixie Hybrid bio-diesel EV was created by the students under the guidance of automotive instructor Bob Williams in addition to the research and development team of Dixie Chopper.
concept was developed by Dixie Chopper CEO Art Evans and local resident Glenn Walters.
"They were the primary sponsor," Area 30 Executive Director Michael Walton said.
Walton said several students at the center worked together on the project.
"We had different classes working on it," he said. "It took the biggest part of the school year."
The hybrid vehicle is different from current hybrids in that it's a series hybrid. similar to a locomotive.
"It's a locomotive inside of a car," Williams said. "The moment that engine starts, it's generating electricity."
Williams said the diesel engine only runs the generator to power the electric traction motor and assist the 14 AGM deep cycle batteries. Parallel hybrids, like those sold by Honda or Toyota, have both a gasoline engine and electric motor attached to a single transmission.
Williams said there are 16 12-volt batteries hooked up in the trunk of the vehicle, which also houses a computer and a recharger that controls the vehicle.
The vehicle is a bio-diesel EV which runs on 100 percent soymethylester (renewable fuel) and is expected to achieve an approximate speed 70 mph.
Instructors hope the vehicle can achieve 65-70 miles per gallon.
"We're hoping," Williams said. "But it's still in development."
The body of the vehicle is a Dodge Neon.
Area 30 represents students from Owen Valley, Eminence, North Putnam, South Putnam, Cloverdale and Greencastle High Schools.
The project was sponsored by Dixie Chopper, York Automotive Family, Duke Energy, Citizens Bank in Mooresville, Co-Alliance, Country Mark Co-op, Indianapolis, Lucas Oil, Battery X-Press, Yorktown, and Putnamville Collision.
The hybrid will be released for viewing as soon as all testing is completed at the Dixie Chopper Business Center at the Putnam County Airport.