I was recently invited to come down to Indianapolis for an exciting EV event where many new vehicles would be on display, and actively driving or racing!
I didnt realize how truly enormous the Indianapolis motor speedway is until I actually entered the in-field. I was directed to take the opening lap with many other EV’s around the 2.5 mile oval, I was told to keep the speed under 35mph…that didn’t last long!
After the opening lap we were greeted by many other EV’s in the parking lot, including 2 new interesting trucks with charge equipment attached to them. These trucks were designed by a company called “Real Power” to be a “rescue” type of charge in case you ever did truly run out of power in a very rural area with little to no charging options.
They were outfitted with several level 1 (110v 15a) two level 2 (220v 30a) and one level 3 (480v DC fast charge). Having the level 3 can significantly decrease the charge time which would be important in such a situation where you would require a road side charge.
We all tried charging our EV’s on the truck to prove they could really work in the real world with all types of chargers and batteries.
After this I decided to wander to the 2nd annual EV Grand Prix, this is where several colleges (I think 20 teams this year) duke it out with high performance electric powered go-karts on a half mile track.
I knew several members of the Purdue “EVC” team that built a very unique go-kart to compete in the race. Their Kart was designed with wireless battery reporting technology, High density battery cells, and brute structure for repeated impacts on the track. The cart and team held together extremely well throughout the 100 lap race where more then half (11 teams) were removed from the track due to impact damage, or engineering defects in design.
The race was a blast to watch, it is truly inspiring to see a whole generation of college students get so passionate about a new clean renewable technology like EV’s, it really brings some hope for the future that their experience in these events can make them shape a clean, renewable edge to their product, or part design in the future.
After some close calls with other karts the Purdue EVC team took 1st place and received some prize money for their efforts, but all the teams did great with all the different power-train, battery, and chassis designs it was quite an amazing race to see from start to finish, and I hope even more colleges and sponsors get involved in the years to come.