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This article was published 4/10/2017 (1444 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A team of Red River College students will be pinning its hopes on a lightweight, battery-electric car nicknamed SpaRRCky when it competes in an eco-marathon challenge next April in California.
The 20 second- and third-year students from the college’s mechanical engineering technology program have spent about 100 hours each over the past 21 months designing and building their eco-friendly vehicle with the goal of entering it in the 2018 Shell Eco-Marathon Challenge scheduled for April 19 to 21 in Sonoma, Calif.
Although it will be another month before the vehicle is fully assembled and ready for its first test drive, on Wednesday morning the students gave RRC president and CEO Paul Vogt a sneak peak at their creation and officially unveiled the car’s name.
Vogt was clearly impressed with their handiwork.
"This is one of the best examples of applied learning," he said.
"When you combine industry-led training, with highly motivated students, and faculty expertise, you can achieve great things. I am very proud that our college is a place where we can turn vision into reality, and I can’t wait to see how our racer performs in California."
For the students, the project "was an opportunity to take the skills they’ve learned in the classroom and apply them to a real project that they can conceptualize and take it all the way to a race," RRC communications officer Lauren Parsons said.
"You can tell they’re all really invested in the project," she added. "It comes from the heart for all of them."
"The best part for me is that I can apply all the knowledge I’ve learned at school to the real world," Bin Yang, one of the team members said. "We look forward to testing, and fixing, and testing until we’re ready to go."
Their eco-car will be racing again more than 1,000 vehicles created by students from high schools, colleges and universities throughout the Americas. The goal of all of the teams was to built a car that can go the farthest distance while using the least amount of energy.
The entrants will be competing in one of two categories: Prototype and UrbanConcept. The Prototype category is for futuristic-looking, streamlined vehicles focused on maximizing efficiency, and that’s the category the RRC vehicle is entered in. The UrbanConcept category focuses on practical road designs.
For both categories, teams could use any of seven official energy sources. That includes conventional fuels such as gasoline or diesel, as well as alternative fuels such as hydrogen, ethanol, gas-to-liquid (GTL), compressed natural gas (CNG) or battery-electric technologies.
Although this is the first time RRC has entered the Shell Eco-Marathon Challenge Americas event. However, Parsons said other RRC teams competed in solar-vehicle challenges in 2005 and 2008.