STEP E-Dragster Challenge Ignites Innovation and Learning in Sustainable Transportation

In a collaborative effort between North Carolina State University (NCSU), the FREEDM Systems Center, and Duke Energy, the Sustainable Transportation Education Program E-Dragster Challenge recently captivated 40 students from six schools throughout North Carolina in a thrilling showcase of engineering skills and sustainable transportation innovation. The E-Dragster Challenge saw participants race their meticulously crafted E-Dragsters, scale-model electric vehicles designed to educate individuals on the structure and power of electric vehicles.

Each E-Dragster boasted an Arduino microcontroller, a LiPo battery, an Electronic Speed Controller, and Quadcopter Motors, symbolizing the fusion of cutting-edge electronics and eco-friendly propulsion systems. The ultimate challenge is to traverse a distance of 20 meters in two seconds or less, pushing the boundaries of speed and efficiency.

The exhilarating competition culminated in the crowning of the CHS Falcon, whose blistering speed of 2.105 seconds was close to breaking the record of 2.07 from Woods Charter High School. However, the event was not solely about speed; it celebrated ingenuity and creativity across various categories. The Spark Plugs claimed the top portfolio award, while NHHS infused the event with the most infectious school spirit. Afterburner earned accolades for the best use of materials, while Cheetah’s spectacular crash showcased the importance of resilience in the face of challenges. Meanwhile, Black Racer’s innovative starting device stood out as a testament to ingenuity.

The STEP E-Dragster Challenge was more than just a competition; it was a dynamic educational platform. It offered students a unique opportunity to delve into the engineering design process, gaining hands-on experience and insights into sustainable transportation models. By evaluating different systems built within an electric vehicle, participants fostered technical skills and developed a deeper understanding of the intricate relationship between technology and sustainability.

As the wheels of innovation continue to turn, events like the STEP E-Dragster Challenge illuminate a pathway toward a greener, more sustainable future, empowering the next generation of engineers to drive positive change.