Johns Hopkins Freshman Builds a Car, Makes it from DC to New York on One Gallon of Gas

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Kids these days do the darndest things. Take Rami Bedewi, a freshman at Johns Hopkins. As a kid, Bedewi built model cars, but by the time he was in high school he was ready for something a bit more challenging. So he constructed a one-seat hybrid vehicle that can travel from New York to D.C. on one gallon of gas. Just, you know, for fun.

It took Bedewi two years of after-school and weekend tinkering to complete his vehicle, which is powered by an electric motor. (The gas engine is there to charge the battery.) According to the New York Times Wheels blog, Bedewi faced several obstacles in his car construction journey:  Chinese-produced batteries caught on fire the first time he hooked them up, and the MVA refused to issue a registration permit for the car. And then there was the fact that Bedewi’s minor high school growth spurt meant he had to recut the entire chassis.

Eventually, Bedewi got a permit from the Virginia DMV and set out to make his journey last spring. “It was really windy that day,” he told the Times. “I remember the car was swerving, and I had to make sure I kept control.” Traveling on back roads at about 30-45 mph (with his parents trailing behind), it took Bedewi about 12 hours to make the trek.

Bedewi displayed his vehicle at the 2013 Washington Auto Show last week. He says he plans to major in mechanical engineering at Hopkins and is still working on coming up with his next project. We imagine it’ll be something equally impressive.

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