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July 6: ChargeCar Project Hosting "Electric" Friday Night Community Events

Contact:  Byron Spice / 412-268-9068 /

Carnegie Mellon’s ChargeCar Project Hosting
“Electric” Friday Night Community Events

Events Aim To Build Buzz for Electric Car Conversions

PITTSBURGH—ChargeCar, the gas-to-electric car conversion project at Carnegie Mellon University, is sponsoring a series of Friday night community events this month at its new Electric Garage, 4621 Forbes Ave., for anyone interested in electric cars and environmentally friendly commuting.

The next event, an open house that begins at 7 p.m., July 9, will feature food, discussion and electric vehicles on display from the local chapter of the Electric Auto Association, Three Rivers EVA. The open house will be followed at 9 p.m. with an outdoor screening of “Gasland,” the new documentary on natural gas production.

ChargeCar is a community-centered project of the Robotics Institute’s CREATE Lab that seeks to revolutionize commuting with electric vehicles. Working with local mechanics, researchers are developing methods for converting gas-powered cars into affordable electric vehicles practical for commuting. The electric cars will employ artificial intelligence to manage their power, thus improving efficiency and reducing wear-and-tear on batteries.

Since launching the project last year, ChargeCar team members, headed by Associate Research Professor Illah Nourbakhsh, Program Manager Gregg Podnar and Project Scientist Ben Brown, have been in touch with a significant number of electric car enthusiasts and environmentalists in the Pittsburgh area. The project moved into a former gas station near the Carnegie Mellon campus this summer, providing an opportunity for events to build on the enthusiasm.

Events are planned for the remainder of the month. On July 16, writer and director Joseph Seamans will be on hand for a 9 p.m. outdoor screening of his “Car of the Future,” an episode of PBS’s Nova that explores how technology will change the cars we drive. At 6 p.m., July 23, the project will sponsor the Electric Garage Forum, a town-hall-style meeting in which members of the community will be invited to suggest future community events and projects. And, at 6 p.m. July 30, a community and policy day will feature local politicians and other invited speakers from non-profit and enthusiast groups.

More information on each event will be posted on the ChargeCar website,, as it becomes available.

Follow the Robotics Institute and the School of Computer Science on Twitter @SCSatCMU.