Helping the next generation
The Shell Eco-marathon is an impressive competition that challenges high school and college student teams from around the world to design, build and test energy efficient vehicles. With annual events in the Americas, Europe and Asia, the winners are the teams that go the farthest distance using the least amount of energy. With a mission statement like that, what young and ambitious engineer wouldn't want to participate?
However, if one takes a closer look at the laundry list of requirements for competition, it becomes clear that this is not an endeavor one enters into on a whim. That was certainly the decision reached by students at the University of Kansas, who participate in their EcoHawk program. While the end goal may be to participate in the Shell Eco-marathon, these students realized they needed to first get their feet wet, before diving in head-first.
To accomplish that task, they launched several projects that help introduce and inspire participants to engage further in the program and take on greater challenges. Some of these projects have included converting real-world vehicles to operate in a more fuel efficient manner.
The project we helped sponsor involves creating a a go-kart sized vehicle that operates as a parallel hybrid, featuring both an electric motor powered by OPTIMA batteries and an internal combustion engine, which can be utilized to propel the vehicle at anytime. The project is called the K-16 Parallel Hybrid Go Kart and the "K-16" references the fact that the EcoHawks plan to donate their finished product to a local high school, in an attempt to educate and inspire younger generations of engineers. We're excited about the project and hope it helps these students achieve their goals.
If you'd like to learn more about the Kansas EcoHawks, click here.