Eight Local Schools Compete in Electric Power Race Car Event

By Amanda Carmichael

Throughout the 2017-18 school year, eight local schools designed and built electric power race cars in the hopes of winning the inaugural Chattanooga Green Prix held March 24 by green|spaces. Local schools competing in this year’s event included Nolan Elementary and Woodmore Elementary for the Goblin Style Race Car and East Lake Academy, Dalewood Middle, CSLA, Howard High School, STEM School and Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy in the F24 Style Race Car.

Students received a base Greenpower USA kit car with a chassis, wheels, motor and batteries with instructions to assemble the kits and then create a shell of the car using as many recycled materials as possible. They also learned to charge their batteries using renewable energy like solar power. Once assembled, the teams had the opportunity to identify tweaks to make the car go faster including aerodynamics, alignment and driver techniques.

“This program challenges students on many levels. Each student had a designated role including materials leader, design leader, marketing and communication leader and driver, which taught them about teamwork and individual responsibility toward a shared goal. They also learned Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills at every stage of the project,” says Michael Walton, Executive Director of green|spaces. “We are training students starting at age 9 with this program for the jobs of the future.”

“We received the kit and were thinking about how it was all going to go together. One of the issues that came up early was not communicating very well or not putting the parts in the right places. As we went along, we started to get along better and work as a team,” says Cody Sowers, student at Howard High School.

Students and hundreds of spectators cheered each other on as each team raced to complete the most laps during their timed race.

“We hope to be able to grow this event into a regional competition. Huntsville is our closest race location and it would be great to have another hub in the Southeast for schools across the country to compete,” Walton says.

The Chattanooga Green Prix is hosted by green|spaces and took place at Chattanooga State Community College March 24.

In the Goblin Style Elementary Race, Nolan Elementary came in first place with visiting team from Huntsville, Walnut Grove Elementary in second. Woodmore Elementary came in close behind to take third place.

In the F-24 Middle/High School Race, Dalewood Middle completed the most laps to take first place with Huntsville High School in second.

The winning teams of the Chattanooga Green Prix race will compete in the Huntsville Goblin Race on April 28 and F24 Series Race on May 5.

The event is supported by volunteers from the Chattanooga Region of the Sports Car Club of America and sponsored by the Lyndhurst Foundation, TVA, Greater Chattanooga Robotics, Lowe’s  and Chattanooga State Community College. The event will return next year with even more participating schools and community support.

For more information and to get involved with next year’s event, visit greenspaceschattanooga.org or call Dawn Hjelseth at 423.648.0963.