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Will Alternative Drive Technologies Save the Future of the Car?
Start date: Sep 1, 2015, End date: Aug 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project pursues the question Will Alternative Drive Technologies Save the Future of the Car? The car is the most wide spread form of transport and probably the most popular. Its effects damage the environment and challenge the infrastructure of nearly all states. A solution for these problems could either be the replacement of individual traffic by 'soft' environmentally friendly public transport systems or by improving the existing form of mobility by producing more efficient cars with clean drive systems causing no harm to the environment. The objective of the project is to look at this last dimension from different perspectives: First from an intellectual point of view acquiring knowledge about alternative systems, secondly from a social and political standpoint and thirdly from a technological angle by building models of cars with these new technologies. The students who participate are between 16 and 18 years old. They attend grade 12 of our vocational grammar schools with their special subject Mechatronics. Each year 40 to 50 students take part. To achieve the objective of the project they produce papers, presentations and videoclips of different drive systems (combustion engine with saving potential, fuel cell, natural gas engine, electric drive). In the transnational learning activities (the exchange phases) they build models of cars with these systems which will function like the real products. In this phase new technologies play an important part. Students are introduced to various skills, to CAD (Solid Works as professional software), to CNC machines (milling machine, lathe) and to programming of these machines (IT). The methods and approaches used in the whole project are integrated learning (several subjects participate), holistic learning (to see the problem in all its perspectives and contexts (technical, social, political) and self organised (the students work in groups which solve the clearly defined task individually according to their own planning and production). The results - the papers, presentations, videoclips and the models - will be exhibited in various dissemination events at both schools (Open Day, special events) or outside the schools (visiting firms or other schools). The impact of the project is that students experience new forms of learning, develop a better understanding of their European partner, become aware that technology is not an end in itself, is not only a question of know-how, but is always dependent on social and political aspects which have to be considered and evaluated. This should prepare them better for their future careers in a technical field. The long term benefit for the school is to improve the standard and quality of teaching, the implementation of a European curriculum and a permanent cooperation with European partners, because the problems we face can only be solved collectively. " Was alle angeht, können nur alle lösen", Dürrenmatt, Die Physiker.
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