Clearwater students get a taste of speed

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A group of Clearwater High School students competed in the Kansas ElectroRally race at the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Mo., on May 2.

CLEARWATER – The sound of a horn and the whirl of a motor briefly passed by as car 154 raced through the finish line after a successful race in Kansas City, May 2.
Car 154 claimed 55 laps in the duration of an hour around Kansas City’s Liberty Memorial. It is one of many vehicles competing in the Kansas ElectroRally Events. Across the state of Kansas, there are over 10 teams competing for the most efficient car design and the top lap count. The ElectroRally program is designed to encourage and promote technical careers to high school students and expose them to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through the design, construction, testing and development of competitive electric vehicles (EV).
The EVs are single-driver, lightweight, aerodynamic, high-efficiency, electric cars with three or four wheels. Most teams build their cars from the ground up using lightweight components such as aluminum frames and bicycle wheels. Teams can enter EVs in one of two classes–standard or experimental.
Both standard and experimental class cars are powered by a battery pack. Experimental cars can add solar panels for additional power to supplement the battery pack. Clearwater’s cars, 54, 154 and 254, were entered as standard class.
Clearwater had previously competed at the Sunflower ElectroRally in Scott City at the Spencer Flight and Education Center and at the Touchstone Energy West ElectroRally at Frontier Park in Hays. The series championship was awarded at the end of the Kansas City race and is based on points and scores from the combined three races. Number 154 proudly placed third from the combination of two thirds and a second place finish.
Clearwater High School has been home to a state qualifying team for the past 10 years.
The first race took place in Scott City, on the tarmac of the local airport. Car 154 placed third while car 54 took a beating when it was pushed off the track, rotating the axle.
After the race, the axle of car 54 had to be repaired and the integrity of the axle mount strengthened. At the next race, in Fronter Park at Hays, car 154 took third and car 54 ran a successful race after the repairs.
After returning from Hays, the team worked hard to finish the last few details to get car 254 up and running for the Kansas City race.
Over the past school year, the team has been working on a new car design, car 254. Two days before the Kansas City race on May 2, car 254 took its first drive on the high school parking lot. The shifting, steering, and braking capabilities were beyond what the team had expected and high hopes were created for the new chassis.
The Kansas City race took place on the oval drive in front of the World War 1 museum. This track is just under half a mile long and very wide.
Car 154 tied for first with 55 laps, while car 254 was on track for success until a poor situation pushed the vehicle into the border and rolled the car. Although our driver is fine, the car will have to be repaired and a few adjustments made to perfect the design before the 2023 season.
Electric utilities have been actively involved in Kansas ElectroRally since 1987 and continue to support the program. The Kansas ElectroRally program is sponsored by Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Sunflower Electric Power Corporation and many of its member cooperatives. Visit kansaselectrorally.org for more information or contact us by emailing Ron Cox at rcox@usd264.org.