On May 31, an electric car fueled entirely by social media completed a 1,000 mile road trip from Kansas City to Washington D.C. Minddrive, a non-profit educational program that uses hands-on projects to educate at-risk teenagers about math and science sponsored the project. 17 high schools students and eight mentors took turns driving the car from K.C.  to D.C.

The students spent the last several months rebuilding a ’67 Karman Ghia from the ground up.

What Powered the Car?

In an interview with Mashable, Linda Buchner the president and cofounder of Minddrive stated, “We took a long time trying to figure out how to convert social media into the wattage we needed”. The car was eventually built with an Arduino device that was able to monitor social media activity and trigger the motor.

Various wattage values were assigned for differing social interactions. A follow on Twitter was worth 5 watts while a share, retweet, or Twitter mention were worth 3 watts. A Facebook like equaled 1 watt and signing an online petition equaled 10 watts. Instagram follows and shares as well as Youtube views, follows, and shares also generated watts.

Social Media Awareness

The trip, which has been dubbed as the “social fuel tour” was also about educating the teens involved about social media awareness. Along with building the car from the ground up, the High School Students involved were in charge of the social media promotion. Students promoted the hashtag #MINDDRIVE and encouraged followers to mention @minddriveorg on Twitter and Instagram to generate social fuel.

Minddrive has proved to be a powerful motivator in the lives of at-risk High School Students. Those who worked on this project were able to learn valuable technical skills that will help them in their future careers. Along with generating watts, Minddrive hopes the attention this project has generating on social media will benefit them and other organizations like them. Students who are struggling in school need projects like this to help them discover the true value of education. Please share this video!

Jamie Bates