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Central charges to third in electric car event

Rookie team fares well at competition

POSTED: May 16, 2013 12:25 a.m.

A team from Forsyth Central High School fared well at the Run for the Peaches Electrathon America race.

The students returned from Quitman with a third place trophy for the electric car race, which teacher David Johnson called “quite an experience for this rookie team.”

It was the school’s first venture into electric car racing and “not understanding the finer nuances of battery management during the first race cost us dearly,” Johnson said.

The team ran out of battery power before the end of the first race, only completing 53 laps. The students learned from the mistake, however, recovering in the second race to finish 60 laps, just one shy of the winning team from Grayson High School.

Electrathon America sponsors dozens of electric car races throughout the country in what the company calls “an exciting new environmentally progressive sport.”

The concept is simple, race a battery-powered car as many laps as possible before exhausting its power.

Johnson said the race is something he’s wanted to do since it began three years ago. “The program teaches the students many real-world skills ... all in a highly engaging, hands-on environment.”

In addition to electrical, mechanical and programming applications, Johnson noted that the race also helps hone problem solving, critical thinking and reasoning skills, as well as how to work effectively as a team.

Central’s team featured 14 students, primarily from the schools STEM Academy engineering program. They were sponsored by Siemens, which donated about $7,000, as well as offering engineers to guide the students as they built their car.

“Their guidance and instruction was beyond measure as we ventured into a whole new area for our students,” Johnson said. “They returned to Cumming with big plans for next year’s races. We are hoping to compete in at least two major events, possibly three for the [next] racing season.”

Though 14 students built the car, four competed in the race. They included Brad Shuford, who drove the vehicle, Cody Devlin, Seth Fowler and Christopher Price.


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