Dean's Office

EV1 Electric Automobile
James H. Johnson, Jr., Ph.D., P.E., DEE
Dean, College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences
Professor of Civil Engineering
Howard University
See also by James H. Johnson, Jr.

Remarks, 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 7, 2002

Honored Guests,

On behalf of the Howard University community, I extend to you a warm welcome to our campus as we meet today to dedicate General Motor’s gift of the EV1 Electric automobile.

As one of only 40 universities to receive an EV1 Electric, Howard University is deeply honored by General Motors’ confidence and highly esteems this gift.  Historically, this General Motors gift is a highly significant one, even in the context of the enduring partnership of trust, achievement and progress that General Motors and Howard University have forged over the past two decades.

The EV1 Electric is the culmination of the work of numerous, dedicated individuals–it represents the end product of American genius–not only the genius of engineers, but that of professionals from many disciplines.  As we in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences strive to realize the University’s ideal of far-reaching multidisciplinary cooperation and creativity, the EV1 Electric will be a visible campus totem of that ideal.

General Motors’ wide-ranging partnerships, negotiations, and research in developing this acclaimed vehicle will also serve as an inspiration to the University community. One of our Chemical Engineering students has already completed an independent survey of the chemical engineering inputs into the production of the GM EV1 Electric.

We envision that the EV1 Electric will inspire diverse research inquiries, as well as serve as a learning vehicle in the College’s outreach programs to middle and high school students.   The EV1 Electric is also a platform to launch important inquiries into the feasibility and perfection of electric vehicles. For example, research studies might include questions such as:  What effect would the production of materials to manufacture an electric vehicle have on the economy of the country in comparison with those of the internal combustion engine if such cars were in mass production? What improvements could be made to the materials to enhance its lifecycle? What alterations could be made to improve the performance of the automobile both from an economic and environmental standpoint? What maintenance problems would be expected with an electric vehicle?

Like Howard University and General Motors, the EV1 Electric is a car that looks to the future.  The EV1 is the car of the future not only for its performance, convenience and affordability, but also because of its environmentally-friendly attributes. The EV1's electric motor requires no emission testing because it is a zero emissions vehicle.  It requires no tune-ups.  Since it does not use gasoline or oil, this means cleaner air and less dependency on foreign oil.  The EV1 is also one of the most efficient production vehicles in the world. Its aluminum structure is specifically designed to be strong, lightweight and 100 percent recyclable.  The heat pump requires only one-third of the energy needed for traditional air conditioning and uses an ozone-friendly air conditioning refrigerant. 

Faculty and student projects and research centered on the EV1 Electric will provide university researchers with a more sophisticated idea of the challenges the automotive industry faces.  This research will also link Howard University with one of the most prestigious car manufacturers in the United States.   And, with all projects of this kind, a primary object will be to get our students to THINK, to engage in the critical DESIGN process.   I believe this is the only way that we can keep our Nation globally competitive.  Under the leadership of President Swygert, Howard University will be part of that drive that fuels the genius of General Motors and the mission embraced by our university - “Leadership for America and the Global Community.”

Thank you for your presence here today to share in this historic moment–a moment that opens the door of wider research in the University community, and a reaffirmation of the enduring partnership between General Motors and Howard University to provide our students with an education that equips them to participate wherever in the Nation or the world that creativity, innovation, knowledge and skill are respected and rewarded.

James H. Johnson, Jr.

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