Jack, I was fascinated to see the 1/10 scale model electric vehicle test system that you had set up in the lobby of the CIMS Building during the NYSETA meeting on March 17, 2005. Between what you told me then and the Electric Vehicle Design Challenge information that you e-mailed to me later, I have become convinced that there is a significant opportunity to introduce engineering principles and some relevant and realistic design challenges to a large number of students at many levels.
We at RIT have been heavily involved in both the Mini Baja and Formula SAE student competitions and have seen that participation have a strong impact on student interest and learning. However those competitions are quite expensive and involve a relatively small percentage of our student population. As an academic administrator I have been thinking about efficient ways to broaden that experience, both within RIT and at the many community colleges and high schools that feed students into RIT. I believe that the Electric Vehicle Design Challenge is an exciting effective potential mechanism to achieve that broadening goal. The compact size and portability of the equipment facilitates not only the competition, but also the marketing of the competition through the ability to provide hands-on demonstrations in almost any environment.
I think it could be the right idea at the right time!
George Sutherland, PhD, PE, Chair
Rochester Institute of Technology