Michael Bane, left, and Ryland Ferran listen to the judge’s instructions. Photo Courtesy LAPS
Los Alamos Middle School students Moorea Montano and Michael Bane put finishing touches on their car in the pit area. Photo Courtesy LAPS
BY MOOREA MONTANO, JAYSON JONES, MICHAEL BANE AND RYLAND FERRAN
Los Alamos Middle School Students
Two teams from Los Alamos Middle School competed in the New Mexico Electric Car Challenge on Saturday, Nov. 23. The car built by Ryland Ferran, Elissa Jones and Jayson Jones had the fastest time of any trial at the event. However, a loose engine mount derailed their anticipated march through the finals bracket. The second car built by Mikey Bane, Carson Poole, Rosario Dodd and Moorea Montano performed well and was called back for the second bracket.
The Electric Car Challenge encourages students to explore engineering careers by building and racing a battery powered car with an electric motor. Each team is provided with basic materials needed to create a car to race at the Challenge. The provided motor and battery pack are required on the car; students cannot use their own. Batteries are given to teams as well to make sure all batteries were equal among the teams. The purpose of this challenge is to get students to think about how gearing and electricity work. The competition allows teams to use their imagination and engineering skills to create a car to use in the race and design competition.
The 2019 New Mexico Electric Car Challenge was very competitive. There were teams from all over the state including Carlsbad, Roosevelt, Espanola, Deming, etc. At this competition, there were several events: an oral presentation, a design presentation and the actual race. For the design aspect, two judges listened to the teams describe their design process, testing and strategies. The oral presentation directed students to create a presentation about the benefits of electric cars and renewable energy sources.
The race was held in a large, gym-like room. Three tracks were set up and each had two lanes, a string running the length of all. One served as a simple test drive course, and it did not have a laser system to time the cars. The other two did, however, to perform the actual test run. The races averaged three to four seconds, but the real winner was decided by thousandths of a second.
For more information about this event, please contact Electric Car Challenge sponsor and LAMS science teacher Brent Collom at firstname.lastname@example.org.