The challenge was set early in the year. We needed to design, prototype and build an electric vehicle to compete against other school teams across a variety of challenges including a drag race, street circuit, gymkhana and economy run. Our team was focusing on the drag race – the maximum speed at 60m, then stopping as fast as possible, and the economy run – the ability to drive as far as possible on a set amount of power.
These challenges required a lightweight and stable kart with all design decisions being well considered and prioritised to produce the maximum benefit for the team. Alex Lasenby, Max Pearce, Britten Somerville and Stefan Zdravkovic were up the challenge, and collaborated excellently to develop, build and test their kart. Such was their drive to produce a top quality vehicle, we were still testing and modifying parts on the Saturday afternoon before race day.
The Auckland Regional race day was Sunday, 22 September. The venue was the North Shore Events centre. The weather was sunny, with a cool breeze. Our Kart – nicknamed the Orange Roughy cruised through scrutineering, then lined up against the other school karts for the drag race. Britten drove a good race, and at the completion we sat third in our class. Prior to the street circuit challenge, disaster struck! While installing the gyroscope and accelerometer, a short circuit caused the motor controller to die. We tried borrowing another controller, but no one had a suitable spare – so we made a mercy dash to the local Jaycar store, and bought a replacement resistor.
The next 90min was spent in the local cafe. While Alex and Stefan made the necessary repairs, Mr Thompson and Mr Place enjoyed the quality coffee on offer. There were nervous moments when we plugged the batteries in and switched the kart on, with only seconds to spare before the start of the last event. The repairs proved to be successful, and again Britten drove well, with our kart finishing second in class.
Such was the performance over these two events, our team was judged to have made the best performing motor controller.
The good result and award was a testament to the hard work, good team spirit and effective troubleshooting that this team has displayed throughout the year. It has been a pleasure working with alongside these amazing young engineers.