Tech students zoom to DC competition, electric car ready to race

 

Photo by William Wheately  Advanced Technology and Design students relax as their competition draws near. Students built the car with minimal materials and will be competiting at the National Harbor in Washington, DC on June 9.
Photo by William Wheately
Advanced Technology and Design students relax as their competition draws near. Students built the car with minimal materials and will be competiting at the National Harbor in Washington, DC on June 9.
Amanda Battle

                On June 9, technology and design students will be competing in an electric car competition at the National Harbor in Washington, DC. Hereford is the only school in Baltimore County that is participating in the event. The students literally started from the bottom and now they are here. The only tools given to the kids were the ones provided by the technology department, a kit with minimal directions on how to build a car, a chasse, and the education the students received in their classes Intro to Technology and Advanced Technology and Design. The students put together an engine, controller, and monitor, and mounted the car together.               

                The class began with the dream of assembling an electric car, prior to the graduation of the class of 2013. After an investment of money from principal Mr. Andrew Last, the students got started. “In the beginning I didn’t believe we could actually finish it, but now I have a good feeling that we can win [the competition],” said Chris Paton (11).

                With the help of electrical engineers, Engineering Principles and Applications teacher Mr. Michael Dodd-O, and a few experts, the team began to watch their dream become a reality. The outside helpers guided the team on the schematic and the electrical aspects. The students have invested not only an entire period of their school day to the competition, but they have stayed after school to assemble the car as well. “One night we were there until six or seven at night,” said Chris. The team is very thankful for all of the time and effort their adviser, Mr. Michael Dodd-O, has put into the competition as well. “Without his support and expertise we would probably not have made it this far,” said Chris.

                The competition measures the distance traveled by the electrical car in one hour. Currently, the car is expected to go 35 mph. Each team is allowed one battery for the race. Each team starts the race with a fully charged battery. But the team is not allowed to recharge the battery in the midst of the race. The organization also awards prizes for the fastest start.

                But the competition is not limited to electrical engineering. Students are encouraged to participate in the best group photo, best group video, and best design contests as well. The team plans on participating in all of the contests held by the competition. For the group video contest, the team is planning on syncing a video of their car with a video of a rally car. As for the group photo, their plans are indefinite. Chris Paton said that the group photo will be “epic.”

                The car has been assembled and test run in preparation of the competition. The team was dismayed to find errors with the car’s brakes in the test run, but they are working diligently to fix the brakes to ensure its riders, Nick Pindale (11) and Anthony Bowlin (11), a safe drive. In order to operate the car, one must have their provisional driving license and easily fit into the vehicle. This qualification limited the team members since some were too tall and/or did not have their provisional driver’s license.

                As the competition draws near, the team is anxious but anticipating success. Their vehicle was inspected before the competition. “Our expert said we were furthest along out of the other schools,” said McKenzie Clark (11). And Chris said, “Mr. Last seemed very proud of what we have accomplished so far.”

                If the team places high at the competition, they may be eligible to move onto the next round in California. The California competition is a major goal for the team; college scouts will be there watching and recruiting talented high school participants.

                All of Hereford is proud of how far the students have come and wishes luck upon the team.  “It has been a roller coaster, but definitively worth now that the car is working and assembled,” said McKenzie.