LITTLE ROCK, AR — The Electric Power Research Institute projects that more than 1.2 million plug-in electric vehicles will be deployed in the United States by 2015. Arkansas students are ahead of the curve as they have been exploring the technology for 10 years.
The students are involved in the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas Electric Vehicle program that includes a curriculum that incorporates a variety of disciplines, including math, auto mechanics, physics, engineering, electronics and journalism. More than 160 participants from 12 schools displayed their knowledge and driving skills at the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas Electric Vehicle Rally on Friday, April 19 at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock. Students participated in competitions that tested the students’ abilities and their vehicles’ performance capacities.
“The students involved with the electric vehicle program are well-positioned for future opportunities as electric vehicles become more and more common,” said Rob Roedel, manager of corporate communications for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “There are more than 27 of the educational vehicles deployed in schools in Arkansas. Since 2003, the students have continued to learn and increase their knowledge of electric vehicles.”
The event kicked off with technical inspections and rigorous safety inspections of the student vehicles. Then, oral presentations were delivered by the students and troubleshooting competitions tested the teams’ abilities. Then the academics were left behind as the participants moved to the track and strapped on their helmets for the acceleration event. An autocross competition followed with many twists and turns. Teams then participated in a quiz bowl to test their knowledge of science and electric vehicles. Finally, the teams returned to the track to test how far the vehicles could go on a single charge. The on-track and pit lane strategies made this event one of the most exciting in the rally.
Throughout the year, students complete activities, develop video presentations and take part in a wide range of projects. The highlight of this project is the design and construction of electric vehicles that the students enter in the statewide competition.
The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to more than 490,000 members, or customers, in Arkansas and surrounding states.
To view the 2013 EV Rally Results, visit aecc.com