Red River College students showcase their design at ARI Day weeks before they compete in Shell Ec0-marathon
by Maddy Reico
Ari Robinson and his team of Mechanical Engineering Technology students at Red River College have been meeting every Wednesday for over two years to design and build a battery electric car – SpaRRCky.
They haven’t had all the practice time they’d like, and have resorted to driving it through the hallways of the college and around the campus gym.
This week they are headed to California to race it.
The Shell Eco-marathon at the Sonoma Raceway is an international event in which each team competes to design and build the most energy-efficient vehicle.
According to Robinson, the competition runs 10.3 kilometres and has to be completed in 26 minutes using as little electricity as possible.
The vehicle is made up of a carbon fibreglass covering that was designed on a 3D printer, and will be travelling at approximately 24 kilometres per hour.
“It’s run off of an electric motor with a little battery, so it can measure how much electricity has flown from the battery to the motor in [the time of the race],” said Robinson.
Robinson says last year’s winning team had a rate of kilowatts that worked out to about 1.6 cents worth of power to complete the track.
The competition caps the event at 100 teams, with 35 in the battery-electric category. Robinson’s team was on the waitlist up until last month.
“It’s been a bit of a scramble since then,” said Robinson.
SpaRRCky won second overall at RRC’s second annual Applied Research and Innovation Day (ARI Day) on April 5 at the Notre Dame Campus.
With close to 200 participants in ARI Day, the hallways are filled with displays showcasing student-led research projects, including an online divorce agency, a study on lullaby therapy and a social media assessment for the Winnipeg Police Service.
“A few of our sponsors got to come and see the car and see what we’ve been up to,” said Robinson about the success of ARI Day.
Ten of the team’s members will follow SpaRRCky to California along with Bin Yang, the current team manager who has worked on the project since construction began.
“We look forward to testing, and fixing, and testing until we’re ready,” said Yang, with a laugh.
The Shell Eco-marathon runs from April 19 to 21, and SpaRRCky will race the track six times for its best trial run.