Although he’s been known to play a video game or two, Noah Z. is not your ordinary teenager. Recently, Noah decided he wanted to express his concerns about the world his generation is inheriting by shedding light on a simple way that American drivers can reduce their carbon footprint. His experiment won him a medal at the Santa Barbara County Science Fair and has him thinking about the future.
The idea started when he and his family checked out the Green Car Show at CEC’s 2012 Earth Day Festival.
After seeing the Nissan LEAF on display, his parents decided to purchase one for their household. They had test-driven a friend’s LEAF and enjoyed how it felt like driving any other car. “It’s a little bit of a ripple effect,” Noah’s father Howard explained. After their purchase, both their neighbors and their best friends ended up buying LEAFs for their households too.<br /><br />Although he is not old enough yet to drive, Noah was intrigued with the mechanics. He spent time looking through the manual, focusing on the manufacturer’s recommendations for maximum energy efficiency in an electric car. He also did some research on “Carwings,” a complimentary remote data collector provided by Nissan, which allows his family to monitor the charging, climate, and daily energy consumption of the LEAF. The Carwings technology conveniently works from his parents’ smartphones, allowing the family to set reminders and timers to start charging the car — even when they’re not actually inside of it. <br /><br />After a little more research on electric vehicles, Noah decided to create a science project utilizing data from the new family car. He and his father completed 9 trials (See Table 1 for exact results) on a set 11.8 mile route throughout Santa Barbara, driving in relatively similar conditions each time. Individual trials were either considered “Normal,” “Aggressive,” or “Eco.” Normal driving consisted of rolled up windows, air conditioning and radio on, and an “every day driving” style. Aggressive driving meant that the A/C was on full blast, the windows were rolled down, the radio was on and the driver was using quick braking and accelerating. Eco driving consisted of rolled up windows, no A/C or radio, and slower acceleration and braking to conserve energy.
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<p>Noah found that the eco mode was consistently more energy efficient than the normal and aggressive trials, with an average of 4.87 m/kWh. Based on these statistics, he and his family have taken the extra step to drive more economically. Noah’s father was surprised by the results, but he’s definitely not complaining. “It’s great. You forget it’s an electric vehicle; you have to plug it in, but you never go to the gas station.”<br /> <br />Noah’s project was awarded the Bronze medal at the Santa Barbara County Science Fair in the Junior Environmental Division, and has him thinking about environmental science as a potential career. He said that his family had also been looking into CEC’s Solarize Santa Barbara program to make their vehicle completely zero-emission; but until they go solar, they’re doing everything they can to be more environmentally friendly. “If every driver lowered their emissions just a little bit, it would result in a staggering amount of change”, says Noah. <br /><img src=”images/stories/zisser_noah.png” alt=”zisser_noah” style=”margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px;” border=”0″ height=”228″ width=”550″ /></p>
<p>It doesn’t take much to lower a carbon footprint and help protect the Earth; this teenager is proof of that. Driving an electric vehicle helps to lower car emission rates and saves individuals and the government money. If you’re interested in learning more about electric vehicles visit the Plug In Santa Barbara website or be sure to check out the Green Car Show at Santa Barbara Earth Day, April 20-21,2013.</p>