Students flick switch on electric vehicle racing

Year 13 students, Benjamin McGuff, Dylan Gibson, Mitchell Fenton and Govil Naidu (seated). Below, Year 12 students, from left, Harrison Thompson, Ben Windress and Kieran McNair.

Students at Whangaparaoa College have designed and built two electric vehicles and say that the process has taught them a lot, including how to source materials on a limited budget and welding skills.

However, there is no doubt that the driving force behind their enthusiasm is the chance to race against other students in the EVolocity Auckland regional finals next month.

This is the first year that Auckland schools have been invited to be part of the EVolocity programme, which is about inspiring students in the fields of engineering, design and sustainable technology. The programme has been running since 2014.

Students design and build an electric vehicle with 2–4 wheels, which they race in a range of competitions including a drag race, street circuit and economy run.

All teams use the same, 12-volt battery and kit of components and getting the best performance out of these has been a focus for the Whangaparaoa College students. Advice from mechanical engineer Tom Lynch of Monocrane helped them unlock the most power from the battery, so they can go as fast as possible even if it’s only for a short time.

The two Whangaparaoa College teams, one from Year 12 and one Year 13, began designing their vehicles in term one and are now close to completing their builds.

Both teams used recycled bikes supplied by the local Police. The Year 12 team has gone for two wheels, while the Year 13s are working on a four-wheeled go-kart design. Tweaking things to keep weight down and increase acceleration have been a focus as they begin to test drive the vehicles around the school.

The Auckland regional finals are in mid-October and winners will have the opportunity to compete at the Nationals in Christchurch in December.


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