Electric Cooperatives’ Electric Vehicle Rally Little Rock April 19

The Electric Power Research Institute projects that more than 1.2 million plug-in electric vehicles will be deployed in the United States by 2015. Arkansas students are ahead of the curve as they have been exploring the technology for 10 years.

 The students are involved in the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas Electric Vehicle program that includes a curriculum that incorporates a variety of disciplines, including math, auto mechanics, physics, engineering, electronics and journalism. More than 160 participants from 12 schools will display their knowledge and driving skills at the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas Electric Vehicle Rally on Friday, April 19 at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock.

 Students participate in competitions that test the students’ abilities and their vehicles’ performance capacities. The public is invited to attend the rally events that begin at 9 a.m. There is no charge to attend.

 “The students involved with the electric vehicle program are well-positioned for future opportunities as electric vehicles become more and more common,” said Rob Roedel, manager of corporate communications for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “There are more than 27 of the educational vehicles deployed in schools in Arkansas. Since 2003, the students have continued to learn and increase their knowledge of electric vehicles.”

 The event kicks off with technical inspections and rigorous safety inspections of the student vehicles. Then, oral presentations by the students and troubleshooting competitions test teams’ abilities. Next, academics are left behind as the participants move to the track and strap on helmets for an acceleration event. An autocross competition follows with many twists and turns. Teams then participate in a quiz bowl to test their knowledge of science and electric vehicles. The teams then return to the track to test how far the vehicles can go on a single charge. The on-track and pit lane strategies make this event one of the most exciting in the rally.

 Participants in this year’s rally include: Arkansas Career Training Institute; Arkansas Tech University – Ozark; Cabot High School; Central Junior High School (Springdale); Fayetteville High School; Hamburg High School; Mabelvale Middle School; Paragould High School; Southwest Junior High School (Springdale); Springdale High School; and Viola High School.

 Throughout the year, students complete activities, develop video presentations and take part in a wide range of projects. The highlight of this project is the design and construction of electric vehicles that the students enter in the statewide competition.

 The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to more than 490,000 members, or customers, in Arkansas and surrounding states.

 For additional information, contact:

Rob Roedel, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, 501.570.2296 or rroedel@aeci.com


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