Rally time!

Published 11:17 am Monday, October 29, 2012

Members of Northampton NEAT perform a last minute check of their electric vehicle prior to the range competition, part of last weekend’s EV Rally held at the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research. Staff Photo by Amanda VanDerBroek

GARYSBURG – It’s the only auto competition where lead acid or lithium batteries are all the talk in the garage.

Last weekend, four schools battled it out during a Northampton Electric Automotive Team (NEAT) rally at the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research (NCCAR).

During the two-day event, approximately 60 students from Northampton County High School, Topsail High School in Hampstead, West Wilkes High School in Miller’s Creek and Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School in Fishersville, Va. competed in various electric vehicle contests, including autocross, acceleration, range, pit crew, trouble shooting and EV Jeopardy.

Northampton High School Automotive Instructor Tom Pope said the event was a success.

“It gives them (the students) practical experience, something that they actually have to put their hands on, and critical thinking skills,” he said

NEAT has approximately 20 students involved with the team. The Electric Vehicle Program at NCHS is no longer an offered class, but an afterschool activity for students.

“The kids work on the vehicles during their free time,” he said.

NEAT’s rally is part of the Electric Vehicle Challenge and next spring a larger EV rally is being planned at the NCCAR site.

Pope thanked NCCAR Chief Operating Officer Simon Cobb and Site Superintendent Sam True for allowing NEAT to hold their rallies at NCCAR.

“Simon and Sam have been most gracious,” Pope said.