EVolocity Waikato is a first-time competition for high school students to design, build and race their own electric vehicles. More than 70 students from 12 schools are taking part in the competition, designing and building their own electric cart or bike equipped with an electric motor kit. The designs range from four-wheel go-karts to two-wheeler bikes.
Tauhara College students Denis Mansell and Joshua Love-Parata are pictured with their electric bike they have built for the competition. The bike is made from an old bike found at the local dump and uses recycled materials from school for the seat and scrap metal in the design. EVolocity provided the electric motor kit. "We picked up the bike from the dump, the seat fabric and foam were offcuts from the fabric department, and apart from a new piece of tubing, everything else has been recycled."
On Friday 16th September their designs will be put to the test, with competitors racing their vehicles in a drag race and on a street circuit to see which schools’ electric vehicles will go on to compete in the national finals in Christchurch on November 27.
As well as speed, vehicles will be judged on economy, rolling resistance and motor control. Other prizes will be awarded for innovation and sustainability, with extra points for body design, bling, creatively dressed teams and community awareness.
Waikato Engineering Careers Association (WECA) manager Mary Jensen said EVolocity has been an excellent way to spark interest in important secondary school subjects and mechanical and electrical engineering.
St Johns’ College head of technology Steve Andrew said 10 Year 13 students taking part in EVolocity at his school had embraced the challenge, renewing their vigour for technology, maths and science subjects.
“They’re using core subjects like science and physics in the workshop and they’re so engrossed. It’s also probably the first time they have been exposed to mechanical and electrical engineering, so that’s a big part of it too,” Steve said.
Students design, build and race their own electric vehicles with assistance from teachers, tertiary tutors and mentors from engineering businesses. “Our technology teachers are working together and students are working together to solve problems for a common purpose. The competition element of it has really motivated them. The response from everyone has been great,” says Steve Andrew.
"Learning with your hands is as important as learning with your head," said competition scrutineer and mentor Stew Lister. “EVolocity means they can be mentored throughout their project and learn those things. They can also be free to learn from their mistakes, which is just as important."
The EVolocity programme is a valuable tool in teaching NZ youth to think outside the square when considering future transport options and to appreciate the dramatic impact electric transport can have on air quality and energy efficiency.
The Waikato Regional finals are being held Friday 16th September at Kartsport Hamilton, from 1.30pm. See the programme here.
WECA is co-ordinating EVolocity in the region and its engineering company members, along with Wintec and the University of Waikato, who are supporting the initiative.
For more information contact:
EVolocity Waikato co-ordinator
022 372 0335
Story and pictures featured in Stuff and weca.org.