Student made electric cars race to the finish line

Saturday it was a race to the finish line for the 29 teams competing in this years' Electric Car Race Competition, hosted by Pantex.

Middle school students from across the region have worked in teams for nearly eight weeks on perfecting lithium ion battery powered race cars.

The long journey to the starting line challenged the students more than the race itself.

Participants had to engage their critical thinking skills with new technology, project management, and design activities.

"We had to learn to work on a team because we all wanted our own ideas," said Dumas Student Holly Willhelm. "It didn't turn out right at first, and kept breaking. So we had to fix and rebuild it, making it stronger and faster."

In the competition there were only two must have components, a direct current motor and a lithium ion battery.

Lead Judge Mike Kelly said the car parts come in a kit. "The kit has the motor, battery wiring, and harness. The students have to design the gearing system."

Other than that, student creativity was free to flow.

"We made it really light weight," said Willhelm. "We had most of our weight on the back because of the motor and it controls the drive."

While some teams believed it was about the shape of the car and being aerodynamic, others had their own strategies.

"Mainly it's about the gearing," said Past Winner Carson Brown. "If you don't have the right gearing, you can't balance the speed and the power that takes both of those to run it."

Despite the differences in the engineering, each team was ready to compete. Officials said win or lose, the race was rewarding to all.

Bovina's white team won the race and received 500 dollars to benefit their school.