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Students Prepare to Race Electric Cars
Posted On:
Thursday, March 22, 2018
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School teams prepare electric cars for the Chattanooga Green Prix


Racers, start your engines! The traditional call to begin a race will just not work for the event planned for this Saturday featuring young innovators and their vehicles from Hamilton County Schools.  The power behind the cars will not be fossil fuel engines but electricity.  Student teams have built electric powered cars to race in the inaugural Chattanooga Green Prix hosted by green|spaces at Chattanooga State Community College with races at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.


The schools received a base Greenpower USA kit car with a chassis, wheels, motor, batteries, and instructions to assemble the kits.   The students were encouraged to create a shell for the car using as many recycled materials as possible.  The teams also learned how to charge the batteries for their car using renewable energy from solar power or other sources. The student builders had the opportunity to identify tweaks to make the car go faster including adjustments to the aerodynamics, alignment, and driving techniques.  Speed, however, may not be the most important factor as the endurance built into the electric cars may win the day.


Students in elementary school will compete in Goblin style race carts with teams from Nolan Elementary and Woodmore Elementary entered in the 45-minute Goblin Race scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m.  The middle and high school teams representing East Lake Academy, Dalewood Middle, Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts, The Howard School, STEM School Chattanooga and Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy will compete in the 90-minute F24 Division race scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.


A team of six girls and six boys in the fourth and fifth-grade at Woodmore spent the last three months sharpening their STEM skills as they carefully assembled and tweaked their #6 blue and white Goblin style race cart.  Power for the Goblin comes from two twelve-volt batteries that can be recharged using solar energy. “The students’ confidence and excitement grow with each practice run in the school parking lot,” stated Anthony Goad, STEM coach of the Opportunity Zone in Hamilton County Schools.


Student builders at Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts learned to use a rivet gun and the importance of assembling a project in the proper order as they built their cars for the F24 Division race. “Wiring was one of the most difficult parts of building the car,” said Rylee Thomas, a member of the CSLA girls’ team. “You have to connect multiple wires and attaching them to the right place was important.” 


CSLA boys’ team member Shrish Sharma agreed it is important to put the car together just right. “There was a lot of trial and error in building the car, but you have to do it the correct way,” he said. “If a part did not fit the first time correctly, it is best to take it off and start over to see what you did not do exactly right.”

The student teams spent more than four weeks building their car to take the checkered flag at the Chattanooga Green Prix.  “The base of all the cars are pretty much the same, so we focused on wheel alignment to give our car a competitive edge in the race,” said Scott Rosenow, teacher and electric car advisor at Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts. “After test runs on the track at school, we made adjustments to the alignment we hope will help our teams perform well in the race.”


The Chattanooga Green Prix event on the Chattanooga State campus is free and open to the public. Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for seating and food will be available for purchase on site. The winning teams at the Chattanooga Green Prix race advance to compete in the Huntsville Goblin Race on April 28 and F24 Series race on May 5, 2018. The event is supported by volunteers from the Chattanooga Region of the Sports Car Club of America and sponsored by the Lyndhurst Foundation, TVA, and Chattanooga State Community College.  


Photos: (Top) Rithvik Siddenki (driver), Shrish Sharma (kneeling) and Rhagav Bachala prepare for a test run of their car representing the Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts.  (Right) Jumarlin Leaks and London Bush build their Goblin cart at Woodmore Elementary.

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