Saturday November 4th 2017 saw the 17th edition of Australia’s longest running electric motorsport event – the eV Challenge. Sponsored in 2017 by WA power utility Synergy the eV Challenge asks teams to design, build, test and finally compete with a small single seat electric vehicle. The aim of these vehicles is to complete as many laps of a track in 1 hour from a limited battery capacity.
Comet Bay College first entered the event in 2016 and had a disaster – multiple technical issues led to a double DNF for our two cars. The team, made up of students ranging from Year 8 through Year 12, was determined to do better in 2017. We even had a team entered by Mr Woolcock & Mr Niven in the ‘Open’ class in a vehicle built with experimental construction methods.
So it was an awesome day, and the students – Calvin Havili, Chloe DeLacey, Lina Buckingham, Cameron Carswell, Sinead Collins, Owen Hall, Sarah Williamson, Jayden Tomkinson, Stephen Cullen, Hayden Fraser, Jo Wishart, Jonathan Chick and Maddy Crowther – worked hard all year and on the day to bring us success.
We also need to recognise the massive efforts of Mr Hill, Mr Olsson, Mr Niven and Mr Trott who all came up on the day to support and assist our team – their help was absolutely invaluable.
We’ve already got ideas on how to be faster next year – and we’ve got our sights set on victory in all three classes in 2018.
Mr Woolcock (Teacher Design & Technologies)
eV Challenge Coordinator
In Class A, for students up to Year 10, a number of construction delays meant the team abandoned the new for 2017 car we had been building and instead prepared our first car, nicknamed ‘Bender’ for the event. After the massive gearbox issues last year we went with a simple single speed rear wheel and it paid off.
Despite not setting a practice time due to the chain dropping off, in the event itself Bender flew, leading for the majority of the race before a loose steering connection caused our third driver to have to pull off track, return to the pits and get repaired before returning to the track, albeit now down in 5th position. Bender did set the fastest Class A lap and a new Class A track record, showing the potential for the car.
In Class B, for students up to Year 12, our dedicated duo of Cameron Carswell and Owen Hall were joined by Jayden Tomkinson in the revolutionary ‘EVEO’ – described by some as the ‘Starship Enterprise’. After a cautious start the boys started powering through the field of 20 cars, sitting in either 2nd or 3rd position for much of the event.
However EVEO’s hefty weight disadvantage cost it late in the Class B event, with EVEO dropping to 6th despite still being on the same lap as the 2nd placed car. The boys did win however, picking up 2nd place in the prestigious ECU Engineering prize for their ‘out of the box’ design.
In Class C for private teams, tertiary and corporate teams, Comet Bay’s teachers built a car and rolled it out in a homage to 3-time F1 World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart, wearing his 1973 F1 livery. Built using a unique gusseted aluminium frame construction method usually used in ultralight aircraft, ‘Sir Jackie’ jumped to the lead of the Class C event on the first lap and was only headed during the pit stop phase.
With the overall champion car from 2016 completing 35 laps the top three in Class C completed an amazing 46 laps – an extra 8+km on the same battery! And to top it all off, Sir Jackie – driven by Mr Niven and yours truly – not only won Class C but were crowned Overall Champions, knocking off three-time champs Wesley College for the first time since 2013!