Green light for car challenge

With the car are, from left, Oliver Gray, Mark Bradley, Jennifer Murley (driver) from Seaton Sluice, Lewis Chambers, Suraj Khosla from Tynemouth, Neil Falcus, from Whitley Bay, Gordon Mackett from Whitley Bay.
With the car are, from left, Oliver Gray, Mark Bradley, Jennifer Murley (driver) from Seaton Sluice, Lewis Chambers, Suraj Khosla from Tynemouth, Neil Falcus, from Whitley Bay, Gordon Mackett from Whitley Bay.

ASPIRING young engineers driven to succeed have been pitting their skills against their peers.

Students from Newcastle College’s school of applied science have been helping develop the next generation of electric cars as part of a national race series.

The youngsters – including Neil Falcus, 18, Gordon Mackett, 19, both from Whitley Bay, and Suraj Khosla, 19, from Tynemouth – had to design, build and race their own green powered cars at Croft Motor Circuit, near Darlington, against some of the motor industry’s top manufacturers and other schools and colleges.

The three cars, named the Rutherford Rocket, Eric and Ernie, use battery power and teach students about design, product development, mechanical science, electrical science and materials in a practical engineering project.

All entrants are supplied with identical electric motors and batteries and have to design and build their car to a supplied specification.

The project has been a true collaboration, with mechanical engineering and electrical engineering foundation degree students involved in the project by carrying out advanced bodywork and aerodynamic work as well as improvements to the electrical circuit design.

During the event the students were organised into two groups – drivers and pit crew – with the 90 minute endurance race putting cars to the test.

Graeme Hill, mechanical engineering lecturer with the School of Applied Science at Newcastle College, said: “This race presents a unique project whereby students can learn about sustainable technologies but in a very practical and fun context.

“Previous students have done well in this competition so expectations to repeat that success were even higher.”