Purdue Grand Prix goes electric

College students are putting final touches on the electronic controls and braking systems of 15 go-karts that will race in the first collegiate e-grand prix in the nation, April 18.
Written by Melanie D.G. Kaplan, Inactive

Go-kart fans: Don’t bother bringing your earplugs to this race.

On April 18, Purdue University will host the inaugural Electric Vehicle Grand Prix, or evGrandPrix--and the track is guaranteed to be quieter than it will be the following week, for the school’s traditional gasoline-powered event.

"Electric vehicles represent the future, and we're getting students not only prepared but excited about that future," said James Caruthers, director of the Indiana Advanced Electric Vehicle Training and Education Consortium and a Purdue professor of chemical engineering.

Thanks to $6.1 million from President Obama (through the U.S. Department of Energy, with money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), Purdue leads the consortium, which is working to develop degree programs for the electric vehicle industry.

Fifteen teams of students are now putting final touches on karts that will be able to go from zero to 60 miles per hour in five seconds—significantly faster than their gasoline-powered counterparts (but for safety reasons, they will be restricted to a top speed of 35). The vehicles will take about 100 laps in the race. Scoring will be based on a combination of race performance, energy efficiency, engineering design and community outreach.

Check out this video to see students building their e-go-karts.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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