Facebook likes. Views on YouTube. Hashtagging on Twitter or Instagram. These will be the fuel for a 1967 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia that was rebuilt by a group of teens from Kansas City, Missouri under a program of Mind Drive, a non-profit organization for at-risk-teens that encourages youngsters to try designing electric cars.
The team of high school students re-built the old-school ride and re-engineered it to be an electric car. What is more surprising is how they thought out of the box and make it run using "social fuel." The car is linked to a server that gets notified when someone on social media networks tweets, likes, views or shares information about the project.
According to Wired, the team of students made use of an Arduino linked to Karmann Ghia's electric drivetrain and programmed the device to allow the vehicle to move forward when it detects social media buzz such as a tweet.
"Social media being used to power a car that they built is just so perfect," described Linda Buchner president of Mind Drive in an interview with Ozarksfirst.
"It's designed so that when we stop for charging, if we don't have enough social fuel, the car won't start again, but it's not going to leave us stranded on the side of the highway with a bunch of teenagers," Buchner added.
The mentors and students of Mind Drive have a bigger goal with the electric, social media-fueled Karmann Ghia. They plan to go from Kansas City to Washington, DC on what is called a "Social Fuel Tour" seek the help of legislators for more hands-on education, which they believed helped turn their lives around and might help other teens as well.
"It gave me some motivation, I would think. I had a set goal of being a professional athlete at first, not really caring about honestly my degree or anything like that, but I guess this car has changed my perspective about how much a degree or education matters," said Kelvin Duley, a participant of Mind Drive.
Twenty students will join the meaningful journey kicking off at Kansas City on May 31 with selected stops in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Pennsylvania. The trip will end on June 6 at Capitol Hill with a press conference.
People who want to contribute some "social fuel" can help by using the hashtag #MINDDRIVE or mentioning @minddriveorg on Twitter, liking them on Facebook or sharing and following them on Instagram. They also need views for their videos on YouTube such as the one below: