Rollin’ down the highway

STA team’s concept car rolls to high finish in eco-marathon

041913_STA-EVTcar2MENDOTA HEIGHTS — A Stillwater student was part of a St. Thomas Academy experimental vehicle team that finished second earlier this month in the 2013 Shell Eco-Marathon Americas competition in Houston.

Senior cadet Kevin Riehm was part of a 12-member team that developed a battery-electric urban concept vehicle that used 118.4 kilometers per kilowatt hour or 2,500 miles per gallon of gasoline. The STA team’s vehicle traveled 74 miles on 10 cents worth of electricity to finish in second place and earn the team a $1,000 cash prize.
The Eco-Marathon gives high school and college students from North and South America a chance to design and build futuristic vehicles that are tested for fuel efficiency on Houston streets. The team with the best fuel efficiency wins.

“Throughout the design and construction process, the students continually surprised me with how creative they were and their willingness to learn new skills,” said EVT Adviser Mark Westlake. “Watching my students work together as a team to prepare the car for each run and then coach the driver during the ten laps of the race made me proud to be part of our program.”

Applying their knowledge of physics, electrical systems, engines and molds, the students designed and built two vehicles to race in the Eco-Marathon Americas competition, the urban concept car and a prototype battery-electric car.

The Experimental Vehicle Team is a co-curricular program that teaches budding engineers real-life problem-solving skills. Past Experimental Vehicle Teams have built a safer electric motorcycle for urban commuting, a one-person car that got more than 1,300 mpg, and an electric car that traveled 50 miles on two car batteries. This is the first time the EVT has competed in the Shell Eco-Marathon. The team has won eight National Championships and set numerous national records in its history.

Besides Riehm, the team included: Thomas D’Agostino ’13 of Woodbury, driver of the prototype car; Robert D’Agostino ’14 of Woodbury, driver of the urban concept car; Ian Nichols ’14 of Eagan; Joseph Muske ’14 of Inver Grove Heights, driver of the urban concept car; Grant Grojean ’14 of Mendota Heights; Jack Ryan ’14 of Eden Prairie, driver of the prototype car; Connor Shea ’15 of Eagan; Nicholas Michalik ’15 of St. Paul; Matthew Michalski ’15 of St. Paul; Branick Weix ’15 of St. Paul, and Samuel Westlake ’18 of Lakeville.