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Saint Thomas Academy Experimental Vehicle Team set a new Electric Cart Association world record on May 24, 2002 at the two-day Electric Car Event for high school students.
The Cadets team traveled a record-setting 37.52 miles at the Berlin Speedway in Marne, Mich. The previous record was 37.00 miles, and held by Lakeshore High School (Michigan). “”We are very pleased with the results,”” said teacher and Experimental Vehicle Team moderator Mark Westlake. “”Students have put in hundreds of hours of effort and time into this vehicle. It is the culmination of many late night evenings and Sunday afternoons.””
Only two years ago, the Saint Thomas Academy Experimental Vehicle Team, formerly known as the Supermileage Team, claimed the National High School record with 1,322 miles per gallon, and later won the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) College Supermileage Challenge. The Experimental Vehicle Team is led by senior Ryan Dobie who was also a part of the record-setting 2000 Supermileage Team. The Electric Car Event, which hosted more than two dozen high school teams from throughout the country, has students design, build, test, and race small one-person cars that run for a total of one hour on a 64-pounds of lead-acid batteries. In addition to the mechanics and physics of the vehicle, students must also factor in and strategize about available energy from the batteries, efficiency of the car, current weather conditions, and skillful race tactics. The driver, with the constant help of his pit crew, must make minute by minute decisions to keep the vehicle at its optimal performance over the hour-long event.
The small electric car weighs 170 pounds and can transport one student. The car is built from chromoly steel and has a carbon fiber/Kevlar body. The vehicle is solely powered from a lead-acid battery and travels approximately 50 miles per hour.
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