Sunflower ElectroRally race scheduled April 13 in Scott City
A wave of the green flag and the race is off! How many laps can specially designed electric cars––built by teams of high school students––make in one hour while racing one another around a track or course? Spectators are invited to discover the answer at the Sunflower ElectroRally race in Scott City. The first race of the spring season will begin at the Spencer Flight and Education Center (300 S. Mesquite Road near Scott City Airport) at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, April 13.
The Scotty City race is the first of three races in the Kansas ElectroRally Championship Series. The second race, the Touchstone Energy West ElectroRally, is slated for April 21 at Frontier Park in Hays, and the final race will be the Touchstone Energy East ElectroRally on May 2 at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Mo. The state championship is awarded at the end of the race season and is based on points and scores from the combined three races.
The ElectroRally program is designed to encourage and promote technical careers to high school students and expose them to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math(STEM) through the design, construction, testing and development of competitive electric vehicles (EV).
“ElectroRally racing prepares the workforce of tomorrow by engaging our students in hands-on, real-world learning as they design, build and race the future of transportation––electric vehicles,” said Oz Qureshi, president of Kansas ElectroRally.
Students from across the country participate in regional and state competitions under the direction of Electrathon America. In the Kansas ElectroRally program, students from across Kansas, including the Kansas City metropolitan area, design, build and race EVs for competitions based on time, distance and how efficiently a car and driver can travel with unpredictable traffic and variable course conditions. One hour after the green flag drops, the checkered flag is waved, and the race is won by the team completing the most laps.
The EVs are single-driver, lightweight, aerodynamic, high-efficiency, electric cars with three or four wheels. Most teams build their cars from the ground up using lightweight components such as aluminum frames and bicycle wheels. Teams can enter their EVs in one of two classes––standard or experimental. Both standard and experimental class cars are powered by a battery pack. Experimental cars can add solar panels for additional power to supplement the battery pack.
While vehicle and safety rules must be followed, plenty of room remains for experimentation and flexibility in the design and composition of their vehicles. Teams also develop race strategies, which are just as important as speed. Some drive fast and get many laps at the beginning, and others go slower to conserve battery and to last the whole race. The cars can reach speeds in excess of 30 mph and travel a distance of 25 miles in a one-hour period.
“These students have an opportunity to compete in all aspects of racing at these events––as drivers, pit crew members, and even lap counters,” Qureshi said.
Electric utilities have been actively involved in Kansas ElectroRally since 1987 and continue to support the program. The Sunflower ElectroRally event is sponsored by Sunflower Electric Power Corporation and many of its member cooperatives. Wheatland Electric co-sponsors lunch for all race participants. For more information, visit kansaselectrorally.org.