Electric vehicle technology accelerates at Purdue
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Electric vehicle technology will be on display at Purdue on Saturday and Sunday (April 17 and 18) as part of the university's Spring Fest and the inaugural Electric Vehicle Grand Prix go-kart race.
The electric go-karts will zip around a Purdue racetrack on Sunday (April 18) in the first collegiate Electric Vehicle Grand Prix go-kart race. The 18 go-karts, designed and built by students from Purdue and Ivy Tech Community College, have high-performance acceleration and top speeds approaching 50 mph.
"However, the evGrandPrix is more than just a go-kart race - it is a complete engineering design experience," said Jim Caruthers, a professor of chemical engineering and director of the Indiana Advanced Electric Vehicle Training and Education Consortium (I-AEVtec).
Scoring for the evGrandPrix includes performance in the race, energy efficiency and evaluation of the engineering design. In the future the scoring also will include a community outreach component.
"We have found out that building an electric go-kart is an excellent way to teach electro-mechanical systems," Caruthers said. "The development of an electric go-kart provides the students with a real-life engineering experience where they have to deliver a competitive product on time with the available resources as part of a team."
Michael Kane, an associate professor of computer and information technology and one of the faculty members teaching an electric vehicle systems course, said, "The experience the students gain is vital for team building and also for learning specifics, such as how the control systems work and how to make on-the-fly modifications."
Josh Michael, a senior in electrical engineering technology from Anderson, Ind., said the course has been instrumental in preparing students for careers in electric vehicles, with instruction in the latest commercial technologies and field trips to Indiana companies.
Katie Winkler, a senior in mechanical engineering technology from Newtown, Conn., said participating in the Electric Vehicle Grand Prix has made learning more interesting and fun.
The overall design and management of the evGrandPrix event was planned and organized by Purdue students as part of EPICS – Purdue's Engineering Projects in Community Service program. The student leader of the evGrandPrix event is Paul Rolley, sophomore in mechanical engineering.
"The EPICS course has given me an outstanding experience in developing a large event and leading a group of students with a diverse range of talents," Rolley said.
Celeste Baker, a senior in communications and marketing leader of the project, said, "This project has given me a real-world experience of how to engage a diverse group of people to generate interest in both electric vehicle technology and the evGrandPrix."
In addition to the race, the evGrandPrix will have displays of a number of commercial and soon-to-become commercial electric vehicles, entertainment, food and giveaways, including T-shirts, iPod "Nanos" and various other prizes.
Purdue students, children and adults are welcome to attend the race. Admission is free.
The evGrandPrix starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday (April 18) at the Purdue Grand Prix track, located at the intersection of McCormick Road and Cherry Lane, just west of the Purdue campus. Gates will open at 11 a.m. Disabled parking is available at the track. For all others, parking is available in the lot next to Ross-Ade Stadium, with shuttle buses to the track.
Electric vehicle technology also will be featured during Purdue's Spring Fest on Saturday (April 17). A variety of electric vehicles as well as electric vehicle technology will be on display on the Purdue Mall. Also on display will be small electric cars for children, radio-controlled cars, electric vehicle racing video games and prize giveaways.
Spring Fest is a free, annual event at Purdue that includes activities for adults and children.
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Related news release:
evGrandPrix revs up interest in electric vehicles
Note to Journalists: Video b-roll, sound bites and package are available for download and use at ftp://news69.uns.purdue.edu/Public/evGrandPrix/. For more information, contact Jim Schenke, Purdue News Service, at 765-494-6262, email@example.com. A photo and caption from a previous news release also are available at http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/general/2010/100331CaruthersElectric.html