Kansas City, Mo, Auguat 12, 2010 - A group
of high school students from the DeLaSalle School in Kansas City,
Mo., have just concluded tests on a student-built electric car
at Bridgestone Americas's Texas Proving Grounds - and may have set
a world record for efficiency.
The all-electric vehicle was built as a class project under the
direction of instructor Steve Rees. With the help of automotive
mentors, the students have created a plug-in electric car based on
the chassis of a 2000 Lola Indy Car.
The students have developed a driveline, electric propulsion
system and full, ultra light-weight aerodynamic body. The car,
which is mounted on Bridgestone Ecopia EP100 tires, showed
remarkable results in testing- test runs reported efficiency levels
that would be the equivalent of more than 300 miles per gallon.
Steve Rees is currently petitioning Guinness World Records to
consider the students' accomplishments as a new world record.
DeLaSalle Education Center is a
high school in Kansas City that provides a safe but challenging
learning environment for high school students that need an
alternative to the traditional system.
The Automotive Design Studio is a class that was designed to
foster creative thinking in a real world setting, showing students
possibilities often not imagined. With this it is hoped that the
students will be motivated to learn and succeed to reach these new
opportunities and visions.
The class project for 2010 is an evolution of two previous years of
a class called Creative Studio and Entrepreneurial Studies.The
students learned to do research in design, draw two dimensionally,
draw in perspective and finally to execute scaled models of their
students then came together to do a common design in a model that
was at full scale or half scale. Their work was exhibited each year
in the Kansas City Art Institute "Art of the Car" Concourse at the
Institute, a top drawer exhibition. It was also published in Road
and Track Magazine and each year in the Kansas City Star
The 2010 Automotive Design Studio project is a step up with the
students designing and fabricating a working electric vehicle. The
vehicle is based on a 2000 Lola Indy Car rolling platform that has
an ultra strong carbon fiber tub structure with a working
suspension, brakes and steering.
The project includes the design and fabrication of an electric
propulsion system and design and fabrication of a lightweight full
body enclosure. The finished car will be a single seat urban
commuter that will operate at commuter speeds.
The goal is to show how simplicity and lightweight construction
can impact performance and energy efficiency. The vehicle will
weigh less than 1,500 pounds, which is half the weight of 98% of
most electric vehicles on the road today. The results from their
testing should be an interesting comparison to other electric
A unique education approach pairs each student with a mentor
that has unique experience related to the automotive industry.
There is an electrical engineer, composites engineer, racing car
fabricator, restoration specialist, inventor, two mentors with
experience in electric cars and two automotive journalists. These
mentors will create windows that the students can enter then learn
and make decisions in, so that they are truly involved in the
entire process and every decision.
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations
has been a valuable partner because of their technical support.
They conducted extensive research to determine which tires would
deliver the lowest rolling resistance, and they provided tires and
wheels for the car.
For the students, mentors and corporate partners who have worked
together so diligently since January, the Texas Proving Grounds
test was proof that dreams can come true.