Powering their cars with only electricity, 14 schools from Kansas and Nebraska will travel to Fort Hays State University on Thursday, Oct. 14, to race in the seventh annual High Plains Rally.
" Schools like our track because we set it up in the Gross Memorial parking lot and it?s a road course," said Joseph Chretien (kray-tee-EN), assistant professor of technology studies. "So there's a couple good straight-aways, an S-turn and a set of S-curves."
The rally begins at 7 a.m. with registration at Gross Memorial Coliseum. Inspections of the vehicles start at 8 a.m. and the experimental race begins at 11 a.m.
The first standard-class race will take place at 12:30 p.m. and the second standard-class race will be at 2:00 p.m., with the awards ceremony happening at 3:30 p.m.
To qualify for the race cars must meet the Eltectrathon America standards. For the standard class that means the car cannot have more than 64 pounds in batteries. and it must use a half-horse electric motor.
" What makes this a really good competition is the actual design of the car is different for every school," said Chretien. "They can adjust the design to give them an advantage."
Cars in the experimental class have the same battery rules as the standard class, but they can use different types of motors and add solar panels.
" They can use solar panels to help the battery out and if it?s a sunny day it works out. If it's not a sunny day it doesn?t work out so well," Chretien said.
The cars in both classes also have to carry a minimum load of 180 pounds, meet stability standards and have two automatic stop switches. If the drivers do not meet the weight requirement, ballast must be added.
" Each vehicle has to have an automatic stop switch that is accessible to the driver and another one that is accessible from outside the vehicle in case there is an accident.
Students enrolled in the FHSU course TECS 120, Power, Energy and Transportation, and members of the Technology Education Collegiate Association and Epsilon Pi Tau will use the race as a service learning opportunity and apply what they have learned in classes by acting as race inspectors, course marshals and registrars.
" The students really like it a lot because they get to get out of the classroom and apply what they learn in power and energy to running the race," said Chretien.
Schools that will be participating in the High Plains Rally are listed below with number and type of entries.
Campus: Campus High School, one standard.
Goodland: Goodland High School, two standard.
Great Bend: Great Bend High School, one standard.
Hays: Hays High School, one standard, one experimental.
LaCrosse: LaCrosse High School, one standard.
Lucas: Lucas-Luray High School, one standard.
Minneapolis: Minneapolis High School, one standard.
Mulvane: Mulvane High School, one standard, one experimental.
North Platte, NE: North Platte High School, three standard.
Scott City: Scott City High School, one standard, one experimental.
St. John: St. John High School, one standard.
Ulysses: Ulysses High School, two standard, two experimental.
Plainville: Plainville High School, one standard.
Russell: Russell High School, one standard.