FUEL EFFICIENT: Local Shell Eco Marathon team succeeds at competition
Published 1:03 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2015
A group of Beaufort County students recently participated in a competition, pushing the boundaries of fuel efficiency, where they were not only successful but also featured on the Today Show.
The Shell Eco Marathon team of Beaufort County, also called the Advanced Vehicle Technology Team of Eastern North Carolina, made up of four local high school students — Jetsun and Camin Randall-Peangmeth, Beaufort County Early College sophomore Anna Eagleston and Domenic Correa, a student of Washington Montessori School, competed in the event April 9-12, held in Detroit. The local team is part of an official Shell Eco-Marathon team based at Dudley High School in Greensboro.
Team advisor Addie Randall said the team competed side-by-side with the top engineering schools and high schools from seven different countries, 25 percent of which did not pass preliminary technical and safety inspections. The vehicle built by the team of Beaufort County students, completed three runs on the 6.8-mile track through the streets of Detroit with a personal best mileage of 237 miles-per-gallon on 100 percent ethanol. The winning team in the ethanol category had a mileage of 842 mpg, Randall said.
Randall said the local teammates met with their Greensboro counterparts a week before the actual competition to conduct last-minute modifications and strategize. During that time, the team was interviewed and followed by a camera crew from the Today Show and was featured on the show April 8 on a segment called “Drive the Future.”
The team then headed to Detroit with three different vehicles that would compete in two different categories — urban concept, which are larger and more like street cars, but still fuel efficient, and prototype, which focuses on fuel efficiency and consists of smaller cars, according to local team member Anna Eagleston. Eagleston joined the team with little experience but has since learned a lot and serves as a mechanic for the team, she said.
“Coming into it, I didn’t know much about anything,” Eagleston said. “I liked building what I could, but by the end, I was the mechanic. I, mainly, helped build the thing and that was a lot of fun, and I learned so much in doing that. The whole thing was really exciting. It was a lot of work, but seeing it all come together was amazing, and we made a lot of friends.”
Randall said the competition was an amazing experience that taught the local team members a lot of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Among what the students learned and gained exposure to are 3-D CAD modeling, 3-D printing and testing in a wind tunnel, working with tools to build their vehicle, ingenuity to use spare parts and scrap metal to build the vehicle and communication skills through outreach and media interviews during the six-month period—skills and exposure equivalent to skills the North Carolina industry needs in its workforce, Randall said.
“What these students learned during a six-month process and going to Detroit has just been amazing,” Randall said. “These are the type of things they’re generally not getting exposure to in school. It was a lot of fun and tremendous experience for them.”