Greenpower is dedicated to promoting engineering and technology as careers to students aged 9-18. This is achieved through unique hands-on projects to design, build and race an electric car, in a competition.
By taking part in the competition, all participants are given an insight into the real, tangible world of engineering. Since Abbotsholme began competing in 2002, we have expanded from one car to two, both of which compete at national level, and a Goblin car which competes in a seperate Formula series for primary school children. The competition is becoming increasingly popular, which stands as a testament to its unique approach to engineering and its ability to bring together and excite young people from a variety of different areas and backgrounds. Students can become involved in the electric car race team in two ways: either by opting for the activity on a Wednesday afternoon and developing the performance of the cars through engineering and testing; or by becoming a race driver. Alternatively, they can take part in both disciplines, as most of the present team do. Both of our cars have been designed and built through collaboration by pupils and teachers, unlike some of our competitors, who use local industrial firms to design and manufacture their cars. We are one of the most successful teams from the north of the country, finishing eigth in the National Final of 2009, from a field of seventy five cars.
As the competition advances through the different age groups, the task of meeting the specifications becomes more challenging and engaging. The Goblin Formula for primary schools involves each team building a standard kit car, giving them a basic knowledge of the engineering skills needed to put a car together. At Formula 24 the specification becomes much more open-ended, with only a 24 volt electric motor and four 12 volt batteries being the standard issue to each team. This continuous development within the competition itself encourages its participants further into developing their own skills and knowledge, and allows a team to stay with the competition throughout their education, becoming more enthusiastic as they progress.
Not only does Greenpower approach the idea of engineering from a less mainstream direction than normal lessons or after school clubs, it also encourages creativity and most importantly enthusiasm and cooperation in problem solving, invaluable skills for any young person whether they decide to pursue an engineering career or not. One thing's for sure, being in a Greenpower team is an experience that its members never forget.