Little Rock, Ark. — May 2, 2012 — As major automobile companies roll out a growing number of hybrid and electric vehicles, students across Arkansas are ahead of the learning curve as they have explored the technology for nine years. They will display their knowledge and showcase their vehicles at the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas Electric Vehicle Rally on Friday, May 4.

More than 182 students and sponsors from 11 schools are positioned to face the green flag that will be waved at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 4 at the Pulaski Tech – South Campus in Little Rock.

Students compete in a challenging mix of competitions designed to test the teams’ and their vehicles’ abilities. The public is invited to attend the rally events. There is no charge to attend.

“Since 2003 students from across Arkansas have increased their knowledge of electric vehicles through the electric vehicle program,” said Rob Roedel, manager of corporate communications for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “The level and breadth of learning achieved by the students has grown as the technology involved with the vehicles has improved.”

The event kick-offs with technical inspections and rigorous safety inspections of the student vehicles. Then, oral presentations by the students and troubleshooting competitions test teams’ abilities. Next, academics are left behind as the participants move to the track and strap on helmets for an acceleration event. An autocross competition follows with many twists and turns. Teams then participate in a quiz bowl to test their knowledge of science and electric vehicles. The teams then return to the track to test how far the vehicles can go on a single charge. The on-track and pit lane strategies make this event one of the most exciting in the rally.

Among the schools participating in this year’s rally are: Arkansas Tech University – Ozark; Cabot High School; Central Junior High School (Springdale); Corning High School; Fayetteville High School; Hamburg High School; Hillcrest High School; Paragould High School; Southwest Junior High School (Springdale); Springdale High School; and Viola High School.

The EV program is an ongoing education program that includes students from a variety of disciplines, including math, auto mechanics, physics, engineering, electronics, journalism and other classes. Throughout the year, students complete activities, developing presentations and taking part in a wide range of projects. The highlight of this project is the design and construction of electric vehicles that the students can actually drive and enter in the statewide competition.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to more than 490,000 members, or customers, in Arkansas and surrounding states.

For additional information, contact:
Rob Roedel, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, 501.570.2296 or rroedel@aeci.com

www.ecark.org