College engineering team to watch sparks (and SpaRRCky) fly at international eco-marathon

RRC Shell Eco-Marathon teamA rush of electricity will race through Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus this winter.

For nearly two years, a team of students from the College’s Electrical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology programs have been meeting every Wednesday to design and build a battery-electric race car.

This April, the vehicle will make its raceway debut at the Shell Eco-Marathon in Sonoma, California, where it’ll compete against more than 1,000 student-made cars from high schools, colleges and universities across North and South America.

The RRC team’s goal? To build the car that can go the furthest distance while using the least amount of energy.

This morning, students offered a sneak peek of their work to RRC President Paul Vogt, while officially announcing the car’s name: SpaRRCky.

“This is one of the best examples of applied learning,” says Vogt. “When you combine industry-led training with highly motivated students and faculty expertise, you can achieve great things. I am very proud that our College is a place where we can turn vision into reality, and I can’t wait to see how our racer performs in California.”

Students can enter the competition in one of two vehicle categories: Prototype, which challenges teams to enter futuristic-looking vehicles with maximized efficiency, or UrbanConcept, which focuses on practical road designs.

For both categories, teams can use any of seven official energy sources, including conventional fuels such as gasoline and diesel, or alternative fuels such as hydrogen, ethanol, gas-to-liquid (GTL), compressed natural gas (CNG), and battery electric technologies.

The RRC team will compete in the Prototype category. Over the next few weeks, team members will test each individual component of the vehicle before beginning to piece it together. By November, they’ll be ready for test drives.

“The best part for me is that I can apply all the knowledge I’ve learned at school to the real world,” says student team member Bin Yang. “We look forward to testing, and fixing, and testing until we’re ready to go.”

Next week the team will begin looking for a driver. For updates on progress, follow along on their blog.

To discuss sponsorship opportunities, please contact Jakee Werbuk at 204.632.2086 or jwerbuk@rrc.ca.