Thursday, April 9, 2009

EVER / e-Kart Wrap-Up

Well, I'm back in Cambridge now trying to catch up on a week's worth of work. (It helps that I'm still operating on a slightly shifted time sense; I've been getting up at 6AM and going to sleep at 11PM recently. I realize this is fairly normal...but not at MIT.)

Anyway, I had a great trip that will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable experiences of my higher education. I can't help but think that at some point in my life, when electric cars are at least a common sight, if not prevalent, I will think back to this and bore people with my stories of the early days. What's that? I bore people with my stories already? Well then mission accomplished, I guess.

I already went on about EVER in my last post, so the only real update I have for that is an amazing gallery of pictures:
Photo credits: Cam T. (mostly), Max H., Paul P., and myself.

After EVER, I moved on alone to e-Kart, a French electric go-kart competition for schools and universities. It reminded me a lot of FIRST, in the team structure, educational emphasis, and competition environmont. The karts there were decidedly faster than ours, on average, but also a bit lighter I think. (Stupid Americans and our over-sized vehicles.) There was also a lithium-ion kart with an AC motor that I think is the most drool-invoking go-kart I've ever seen (third clip, #77):

The others were also very impressive, in both power and degree of instrumentation. Most were heavily student-built, too. Here is my small gallery from Tours, France, where e-Kart was held this year:

I don't know yet what exactly the path I take from here is, but I've seen enough now to know that this is an awesome educational opportunity. Maybe there's a role for me in creating something of an open-source reference for this kind of project. We'll see. I'm looking forward to seeing America's first foray into educational alternative fuel (not just electric) kart challenges this in May: Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School is hosting the Go Green Go-Kart Competition, open to all NC schools. Until then, preparation for 2.007 will probably thoroughly occupy my time!

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