Jun 05, 2007 Eagle Newspapers Uncategorized
Baker High School will compete in the first ever CNY Electrathon Challenge, to be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday June 9 at the high school. The event is sponsored by the Baker High School Technology Department, the Cazenovia High School Electrathon
Racing Team, and the Cazenovia Athletic Association.
The Electrathon Challenge can best be described as an electric marathon in which schools will compete with electric cars that students have built and will be driving. According to Baker High School technology teacher Jamie Cuyler, each team’s goal is not to cross a finish line first, but to go the longest distance in one hour on just battery power. Teams from Cazenovia, Rochester and Buffalo will also be participating in this inaugural event. Electrathon racing events are held all over the country, most sanctioned by Electrathon America, an organization designed to promote and develop electrathon racing as a sport that improves public understanding of electric vehicles. Races are mainly conducted for educational purposes. The Baldwinsville race is not a sanctioned Electrathon America event, but it will follow all of the organization’s guidelines and rules as outlined in the organization’s official handbook.
Baker High School’s team is made up of students from Cuyler’s engineering design and development class, which is part of the Project Lead the Way engineering sequence at the high school. Cuyler teaches the class with technology teacher Paul Mizer.
The students began building the team car in January, using a kit for the body and fabricating the rest of the car from materials that they modified themselves using their knowledge of engineering and design. Evans Chevrolet donated the red paint needed for the car’s body, and Nami’s Engraving & Awards donated the team’s polo shirts. The students who primarily worked on the car are Mitch Collins, Tom Engels, Jake Neely and Howard Rotchford. Other members of the class also helped when needed. The car made its official debut in the Baldwinsville Memorial Day Parade held on May 30.
Rotchford and recruited driver Mike Baldino will be driving the car in the challenge. According to Cuyler, drivers must weigh a minimum of 180 pounds. This includes clothing and a helmet. Weight must be added to the car if the driver is less than 180 pounds. Cuyler said the team has to follow certain safety standards. Drivers must have a valid state driver’s license. The driver must be belted in with a five-point racing harness that limits excessive movement. All drivers must wear a helmet approved by the Department of Transportation, and the car has to be equipped with emergency shutoffs and a roll bar in the event of a roll over. Before the race begins, an inspection team will thoroughly check every participating car to be sure each meets all of the safety requirements.
Cuyler said that building the car and preparing for the race has provided his students with a great opportunity to utilize their knowledge and skills in such areas as physics and math, as well as engineering and design principals. They also need to use this knowledge to determine how best to drive the car so that the battery will provide enough electricity for at least one hour of driving and for a maximum number of laps around the course. Additionally, students have learned the value of working as a team to solve problems.
The public is welcomed to attend the CNY Electrathon Challenge. In addition to the electrathon cars, there will be several solar powered cars on display. If it rains on June 9, the race portion of the event will be cancelled, but teams will still meet to show off their cars and exchange ideas. Baker High School is located at 29 E. Oneida St. in the village of Baldwinsville.
For more information on electrathon racing, visit nyelectrathon.com.