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Baker students race electric car

With the price of gas soaring and concerns over global warming increasing, alternative sources of fuel and vehicles are being explored worldwide, even by students in the Baldwinsville School District. This is the second year that students in teacher Jamie Cuyler's technology class at Baker High School have worked with an electric car as part of the class' curriculum.

Last year, Cuyler's students built the school's electric car, which debuted in the first ever electric car race held at Baker High School last June. This year's group of students modified the car and made improvements to it, using their knowledge of physics, math and engineering and design principles. Cuyler said his students totally rebuilt the front of the car frame to make the car stronger as well as safer. To improve the electric motor's performance they added cooling ducts. They also installed a new system for holding ballast weight when a driver is lighter than 180 pounds. To use the car in a race, the driver must be at least 180 pounds or weight has to be added to the vehicle to achieve the minimum required weight.

This April, Cuyler, along with teacher Matt Hudson and six students, attended Accelerate 2008, a trade show that focused on green technology and high tech innovations. The students had their car on display and answered questions from those in attendance. They were also able to speak with engineers at the trade show.

On May 3, the students attended the Green Grand Prix in Watkins Glenn. This road rally around Seneca Lake was for alternate fueled vehicles that run on fuel cell, bio diesel and even wood chips. Students didn't participate in the rally but had their car on display. Students Mike Baldino, Jeff Gallup, Ben Novak, Alec Corso, Mike Cooper and Dylan Tucker fielded questions from rally participants.

On May 10 Baker's team tied Cicero -- North Syracuse's team for second place in a race at C-NS High School. Both teams were able to drive 78 laps in one hour without recharging their cars' batteries. The Baker team is scheduled to participate in its second race of the year on June 14 at RIT in Rochester.

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