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How it came to be...

...the story of K.I.T.

You can see the electricity at Pomeroy-Palmer. Last year, the district decided to skip the AEA Physics Olympics to concentrate on the Iowa Electrathon. Electrathon is an interdisciplinary project where students design and build an electric car for racing purposes. Over 20 students, grade 9-12, pitched in to create the car.

This project involved students from industrial technology, physics, mathematics and other upper level classes.

The car weighs about 207 pounds with an exhaust pipe frame, brakes in the hubs and bicycle rims. Students began drawing/designing the car around Christmastime and then it took about six weeks for materials to arrive. Posters hung around school offering this opportunity. Each was assigned a specific task, such as accounting, writing reports, publicity and production. They came up with a budget and stuck with it.

Two deep cycle batteries provide power for the car; this 24-volt system is similar to systems used for trolling motors and golf cars.

Aaron Bruns, a senior, was assigned the task of finding this motor. He talked to lots of voice mails, secretaries and area businesses before hooking up with an Ohio company, Imperial Electrical.

Another important piece of equipment is the controller which acts like an accelerator of a "real" car. Global Light and Power in Idaho supplied this part that allows the current to get to the motor.

To be competitive for the race, the car must sustain speeds between 20-40 mph and run for one hour. Each car is inspected before the race according to Electrathon America rules and Iowa Electrathon expanded rules.

The number 46 was chosen as a means of thanking Fort Dodge businessman Larry Clement for his generosity and help with this project, Buddin said.

While the P-P car had 26 local sponsors, the Iowa Electrathon is provided by a partnership between the Iowa Renewable Energy Association (I-RENEW) and the center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE) at the University of Northern Iowa.

The car was put to the test on May 16. The 1998 Iowa Electrathon Race was held at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids.

On turn number two of the second lap, KIT, the P-P car blew the rear tire sending the car into a 540 degree spin destroying all three wheels, but the car remained upright. The driver John Rosenboom walked away unharmed but very disappointed. Analysis showed a defect in the blown tire.

Plans are currently being made to take the car to Grand Rapids, Michigan for another Electrathon and NECA event scheduled for June 6.

--Article by Connie Johnson

On June 5th, eight students accompanied by one teacher and one parent, made a low-budget trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan to compete in the June 6th Electrathon race. The recently re-built car ran extremely well and completed 63 laps on a 7/16 mile track in one hour. The first 42 minutes, K.I.T. maintained speeds between 33-35 mph. By that time the batteries were mostly consumed, but K.I.T. managed to muster enough energy for the next 18 minutes and complete the race with an average speed of 27.56 mph. K.I.T. placed 6th in this extremely competitive field. Michigan cars hold all national and world electrathon records.

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