Brockport, N.Y. - Since September, the Engineering Design and Development class at Brockport High School has been working on building an eco-friendly vehicle to “race” at the national Shell Eco-Marathon next month.
The contest is a global program that challenges high school and college students to design, build and test vehicles that can go the furthest using the least amount of energy or fuel.
There are different categories to compete in: gasoline energy, battery electric, alternative gasoline energy, diesel energy, alternative diesel energy, solar power and fuel cell.
Brockport’s team has designed their car to run on a single lithium ion battery and they are now in the process of completing the construction of their vehicle.
This will be the first time Brockport High School has competed in this marathon and they are the only Rochester-area high school competing in the Shell Eco-Marathon.
Technology teacher Craig Coon said six of the 23 students in the class will be heading to Houston for the competition. That’s where their car will undergo safety checks and ultimately race around a track built in the city.
Coon said that the contest is not a race to see who comes in first. Rather, the race is to see which car is the most energy-efficient. That means the team who’s last to cross the finish line could technically win the grand prize.
Coon says the students have learned a lot about working together as a team through this project.
“With the students, the communication aspect was just enormous,” he explained. “Getting 23 students to agree on one concept and their many, many decisions on the way wasn’t easy.”
But eventually, the classmates were able to come together on the final design and concept.
“It makes me so proud to see them actively engaged in this project,” Coon said. “They were here until 7 p.m. most nights last week. That's so inspiring to see the next generation.”
Coon said that what the students are learning through the project has real-world applications. He hopes one day these students will be the minds behind creating more fuel and energy-efficient cars for mass consumption.
General Electric is sponsoring the Brockport High School Team. It has supplied the team with much of the funding needed to build their car.
GE employees have also volunteered their time to help mentor their students and answer any questions they have during project.
The team that wins the Eco-marathon could recieve $2,000 in prizes.