Car Show Electrifies Community


On Sept. 8, 2018, Wyvern 36 Robotics held their first annual Electric Car Show. The event promoted discussion around electric vehicles and sustainable energy in West Hartford.  Robotics Coach Kathleen DiSanto, senior Matt Safalow, and senior Ben Poulios planned and organized the event. Matt said he started talking about the event in May with Ms. DiSanto and Ben. “When I first brought it up, Ms. DiSanto thought I was crazy, but I did it anyways,” he said.

Ms. DiSanto, regardless of any original reluctance towards the Electric Vehicle Showcase, was a crucial part. “When Matt first brought [the idea] to me, I didn’t want anything to do with it. I wouldn’t just do it on my own,” said Ms. DiSanto. “I would help if students showed actual interest and desire to run the event.”

Matt filled out the form on the national drive electric week, officially signed up, and then informed Ms. DiSanto. “She didn’t find out till the last week of school,” he said. “Then we had to start contacting important school officials. None of the school officials got back to me; they were doing administrative stuff.”

In late June, Matt got permission. “Once we got official approval, I started to reach out to every single thing with any relation to electric cars,” said Matt. “After the dealerships, we started contacting local eateries. We then began working with the West Hartford Clean Energy Commision.”

Through working with the West Hartford Clean Energy Commision they were able to get in touch with the Mayor, so they received a proclamation from West Hartford. “The proclamation started because we were meeting with them. One of the people at the West Hartford Clean Energy Commision works with the Mayor,” Ms. DiSanto said. “Matt asked about a proclamation, and we were able to get one.” Other than the proclamation from West Hartford, they received a proclamation from the Governor of Connecticut. “The governor’s proclamation came as a surprise. We had done nothing to request it,” Ms. DiSanto said.

A few days before the actual event senior speaker Andrew Holland interviewed the planners in front of the Upper School at a weekly assembly. “I was really impressed with how they organized this whole thing from scratch,” Andrew said.  “It’s crazy what a student idea can turn into.”

Finally, the the day of the car show arrived. “I think the event ran really smoothly,” said Ms. Disanto. “We had a steady crowd the whole time.”

They had 38 cars at the event. Eight Tesla Model 3s, four Chevrolet Bolts, four Tesla Model Ss, three BMW i3s, two Ford Focus Electrics, two Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrids, two Tesla Model Xs, one BMW 530es, one Chevrolet Volt, one Fiat 500e, one Ford Fusion Energi, one Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, one Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, two Nissan Leafs, one Toyota Plug-in Prius, One Toyota Prius Prime, and three other plug in vehicles.

Other than all of the cars present at the event, there were multiple food vendors, including SPoT Coffee, Nana’s Ice Cream Truck, Grant’s Restaurant, Restaurant Bricco, Plan B Burger West Hartford, and Ice Cream Time.  

After all the team’s hard work, Ms. DiSanto is optimistic for another great season with new and returning members on the team.  “I am super proud. We had six brand new members of the team. I think they should still be really proud of it,” Ms. DiSanto said. “They were directing people in, and they kept the robot running. It really was a team effort on the day. I am excited to start the season so positively.”