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Old 05-20-2009, 11:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Electrathon Team - Watertown, Wisconsin

Electro-Metro project donates parts to High School EV Race Team!

This afternoon, I was over at the Watertown, Wisconsin High School to lend a hand to the Electrathon Team

Electrathon is a high-school competition to design, build, and compete electric go carts.

I had an e-mail from an advisor this morning saying that their competition was this Saturday, today was the last build day before then, and they just lost their ammeter.

They were looking for a last-minute replacement, so the guy thought of me.

I drove over to the school, hauling along my electric motorcycle to show off to the students.

They got a kick out of the cycle, especially since it used the exact same motor and nearly identical controller as their electric go-cart.

They also had another car there which was propane powered.
Here is the "body" of the propane car next to my cycle.


Their electric car weighs about 70 lbs without batteries. That's light enough for two students to pick it up and set it on a welding table to work on.




I also noticed a few trophies kicking around from previous wins in the competitions.


Here is the Electro-Metro's Ammeter mounted to the Electrathon cart with a piece of Lexan. It's really light stuff. Weight is important, as a big part of the competition is an endurance run.


The entire car is completely designed and built by students. In some cases, students designed parts on CAD software and then had the cutting done by a machine shop. Check out the nice shape of this custom steering wheel. Notice the thumb-mount throttle.


Here's a shot of the propane car.

It has some crazy-nice front end suspension on it. The brake rotors, rear sprocket and a few other parts were CAD drawn and then custom-cut. Last year, this car was electric, but they kept burning up Eteks, so they changed it to propane this year.
Here's the business end of that car.

The brake rotors were drawn by the students and the differential was designed by one of the parent advisors.

Good luck this weekend!

Bring back the Metro's Ammeter in one piece!!!!!


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Old 05-20-2009, 11:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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very cool
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thats totally cool. Would definitely advise them the benefits of Aero if its an enduro race. Some more of said lexan, polycarbonate or fiberglass would do wonders. Could probably shell the whole thing for about 5-6 lbs. . . Or at least the front and shield the back a little
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:23 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Very cool Ben.

I agree with theunchosen, aero mods for that enduro race!
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Old 05-21-2009, 08:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I advised on mounting the ammeter below the line of the "hood" so the wind wouldn't wack it, and then add a mini-cross-brace so it wouldn't flop around.

Their projects have been building the last few years. The propane car has a VERY NICE solid fiberglass body with sponsors, but the electric only has a really simple sheet metal body.

It sounded like body work was going to be next years main thing.
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Old 05-21-2009, 05:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Nice, wish my high school did stuff like that. I would love to convert my truck to propane too! It was a really popular option in canada for these trucks.
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Old 05-21-2009, 08:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by my first gmc View Post
Nice, wish my high school did stuff like that.
Oregon was way ahead of my high school having telethon racing for years. I had no idea until the 1990s when I saw a telethon body on a recumbent trike then found out that it came from Oregon. Then in later years I learned that Australia build up racers for "Pedal Prix".

And we wonder why all our big land yachts are vanishing and are pretty unprepared for anything other than "Big Block" internal combustion engines. Very annoying that we missed a more "rounded" mechanical education.

Terrific to see young minds learning more than one form of transportation.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Cool to be the go-to guy for an electrathon team

At the Green Grand Prix in Watkins Glen this month, I probably spent more time talking with the high school electrathon teams at the expo. If my school had stuff like that when I was a kid, I'm sure I'd be an even bigger nerd today.

One interesting tidbit I learned: since the goal of the event is to go as far as possible in one hour on a given amount of battery power (everyone uses the same amp hour battery), you ideally want to coast across the finish line at the hour mark with "zero" state of charge.

One team I talked to said they were hoping to get a custom computer that would monitor SOC & power consumption and tell them exactly what speed to drive to get the optimal distance & zero SOC within the hour!
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Old 05-28-2009, 02:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I am heading over to the highschool to get my ammeter back later today.

I feel like I have been driving blind without it lately!

The team didn't do the greatest (they came in third from last....) but had a great time and learned plenty.

Using the ammeter, there were able to find the best "line" on the track to follow to maximize economy.

Next year, they are going to be focusing on aerodynamics.

They also asked if I can help with ideas for electronics and instrumentation for next year. One team they were competing against had real-time amp/watt/voltage instrumentation wirelessly going from their car back to the coach and rest of the team!

Next time, Gadget, Next time.....
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Old 07-02-2011, 06:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The high school held their second annual fundraising car show.

While there, they showed off their two hypermiling vehicles.

Here's the secret gas engine for their ICE-class vehicle.


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