Eco-Kart began as an idea for students to be involved with advanced level projects while still being in high school by introducing them to a fairly popular concept. The original objective was to turn an existing go kart into something that can be operated with an energy efficient power supply which could be solar, ethanol,wind, or even water! It’s been decided that the Eco-Kart competition will be similar to the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) where the objective of the challenge will change every year. For the 2011-2012 school year, the objective will be to build a solar powered go-kart. The next year may be water and the following year could be ethanol (ethanol, water or any combustion based engine may be against school policies and so the competition will adjust to those changes). As you can see, the Eco-Kart competition in general is to get the future engineers of tomorrow the ability to make energy efficient technologies today.

The competition itself will be measuring how students can create the most efficient design while staying under a budget. There will be rules including battery and motor usage along with many rules regarding safety to also measure team’s ability to work under constraints. The conclusion of the yearlong projects include a race to see who made the fastest and or most efficient Eco-Kart!

Benefits of this competition includes

  1. Giving students the ability to work on collegiate level projects while being in high school
  2. Teams will receive much needed media attention since this is the first of its kind
  3. Teams will receive more sponsors for their future endeavors
  4. Students have good talking points in scholarship and college application essays
  5. Students have firsthand experience with a challenging problem of today’s society

Update: 9-13-2011

Objective: Students will build a Go-Kart that features a fuel efficient power supply and race with their vehicles to ensure competitive performance. Eco-karts cannot use gasoline or any petroleum based fuel

Purpose: Student’s will get hands on experience with developing technologies to continue the transition to oil independency.

Start: The kick off for competition will begin September 12th , 2011. Students have approximately 7 months to design, build and test their Eco-karts for race day at the end of April.

2011-2012 competition: Solar power

Expected 2012 – 2013 competition: Hydro/Water

Rules: Certain rules have been placed for fair play amongst teams while also challenging each team’s ability to think within boundaries.

  • All teams must use motors that are available to everyone i.e. no custom built motors.
  • All motors must be approved before hand before race day
  • All motors must be rated equal to or less than 1,000 watts
  • All eco-karts must utilize the energy source selected for the competition which will be announced prior to start of build season
  • All eco-karts must be inspected before race day by a validated judge before race day.
  • All eco-karts must pass through safety inspection before racing

Safety rules: Eco-kart deals with students being around high voltage, dangerous equipment, and operating motor vehicles. Extra safety pre-cautions must be in place to ensure no one gets hurt. All Participants must fill out a safety form before the start of the build season.

  • All Eco-karts must have master kill switch on the outside of the vehicle
  • All Eco-karts must have circuit breakers inside the vehicle in arm’s reach of the driver
  • Battery terminals must be covered
  • No loose or poorly attached wires
  • Wire gauge must be correct size for amperage levels used.
  • Driver must be wearing a helmet whenever operating vehicle
  • Driver must be able to exit the vehicle in 10 seconds or less in case of fires
  • Eco-karts must have seat belts
  • Eco-karts must have driver’s cage
  • Eco-karts must weight under 300lbs including batteries and excluding driver
  • A blog of some sort must keep track of each team’s Eco-kart progress throughout the year

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