Colorado is emerging as one of the leading electric vehicle states in the country, and the push to make electric vehicles better is happening in Colorado, too.
Students at the Colorado School of Mines and Arapahoe Community College are working together on building an advanced battery for electric vehicles for the global automaker of Dodge and Jeep -- Stellantis.
It's part of the Battery Workforce Challenge, where the students will design, build and test an advanced EV battery for a future Stellantis vehicle.
"Being able to work hands-on with a car that potentially won't even be out yet is just amazing to me," said Peyton Crewnshaw, a second-year student at Arapahoe Community College.
"I think this is such a huge opportunity," said Joe Eriqat, a grad student at the Colorado School of Mines. "I mean, really, for every student involved, it's huge for us to basically get real-world experience, get hands-on practice, using industry techniques, working with industry partners, which is really exciting."
The Colorado School of Mines was chosen to participate in the challenge. Each university participating also teamed up with a local community college, trade school or vocational partner. That's how Arapahoe Community College also got involved.
Students at the Colorado School of Mines are focused on the engineering aspect of the battery.
"We need to make sure that, you know, not only are they going to perform well, but they're going to keep people safe," said Eriqat.
Meanwhile, students at Arapahoe Community College are focused on the technology aspect.
"I know as soon as we get a car, my teacher and I and the rest of our team will get a chance to work on that car and kind of figure it out on our own," said Crenshaw.
As electric vehicles gain popularity, the need for an electric vehicle and battery workforce becomes even greater. According to Arapahoe Community College, building a domestic battery supply chain will require more than 230,000 jobs by 2030.
"EV technology is the future, but it's so important that we develop a workforce that enables us to support our future," said Eriqat.
Stellantis and the U.S. Department of Energy are sponsoring the challenge. It's inspiring the next generation of engineers and technicians, but it's also hands-on learning experience for students to gain skills and experience in the EV industry.
"It's a serious commitment, but it's really exciting, and I think we're very fortunate to have a lot of major industry partners, who are really helping us through," said Eriqat.
"I think it would be amazing if we could make an EV battery even bigger and better and more efficient," said Crenshaw.
Students will be working on the project for the next three years. In 2026, they'll unveil the final car and be competing with 11 other teams across North America.
for more features.