Hamilton County Electric Car Designers and Racers Take National Honors
Posted on 04/29/2020
Photo: Racers are Brody Harp (driving) and Alex Dowlen (Team #04) in the first car and J.T. Black (driving) and Anthony Rimback in the second (Team #93)  All four are seventh-graders at Hixson Middle School.Racers from Hamilton County Schools took the top prize in the 2020 GreenPower USA races with students from Hixson Middle, Red Bank Middle, and Dalewood Middle coming out on top in a racing season cut short by COVID-19. The student teams are racers, but they are also learning while having fun. Participants learning how to problem solve and engineer a faster, more efficient race car throughout a race season. The 2019-2020 school year, local elementary, middle, and high schools competed in GreenPower USA regional races in electric power race cars that they designed and built. The Chattanooga Green Prix is a program administered by green|spaces to support local schools in participating in the GreenPower USA program.

Tennessee Valley Robotics Team #04 was awarded National Champion by placing first in the GreenPower USA Intermediate Stock Car Category with their partner team Tennessee Valley Robotics Team #93 placing second. Students from Hixson Middle School make up both teams. The cars built by the students raced in events across the Southeast. The competition is not just about the races and results in crossing the finish line. Cars are also judged on engineering, design, team-work, and other STEM criteria. The team cars are sponsored by Tennessee Valley Robotics, whose goal is to support robotics in education, teaching students the STEM skills needed to prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM.)

"I was lucky to have such a great team of students, and I've enjoyed getting to know these young men and watch them grow," said Scott Rosenow, coach of the Tennessee Valley Robotics teams. "I can't thank Tennessee Valley Robotics enough for sponsoring the team and our very supportive parents who traveled with us all over the Southeast."

Red Bank Middle placed 6th, and Dalewood Middle placed 8th in the Intermediate Custom Class. Other teams from Hamilton County Schools were from Nolan Elementary, Orchard Knob Elementary, Red Bank Elementary, Rivermont Elementary, Lookout Valley Elementary, Harrison Elementary, Woodmore Elementary, East Lake Elementary, DuPont Elementary, Middle Valley Elementary, Brown Elementary, Barger Academy, Hillcrest Elementary, Hardy Elementary, Howard Connect, Orchard Knob Middle, Soddy Daisy Middle, East Lake Academy, Ooltewah Middle, Howard High, Brainerd High, Sequoyah High, Red Bank High, Central High, and Signal Mountain High. Local charter and private school teams also participated.

GreenPower USA, headquartered in Huntsville, is the United States organizer for the GreenPower International Program. Their mission is to "advance education in the subjects of sustainable engineering and technology to young people." GreenPower runs engineering challenges for schools based around designing and building a single-seat electric-powered race car.

Started in 2016 with support from the Lyndhurst Foundation and TN Valley Robotics, the program has grown to almost 40 local schools, with over 400 students designing, building, and racing electric power race cars. Students on the teams are assigned roles at the beginning of the year, including Electric Systems Engineer, Telemetry Engineer, Vehicle Dynamics Engineer, Marketing Manager, Head of Logistics, Body Designer, and Driver.

Several Hamilton County Schools want to be involved in the program and are on the waiting list for cars and sponsorships. The schools include Battle Academy, East Hamilton Middle/High, Sale Creek Middle/High, Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts, Normal Park, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, Snow Hill Elementary, Bess T. Shepard Elementary, Apison Elementary, North Hamilton Elementary, Wolftever Creek Elementary, and Wallace A. Smith Elementary.

Sponsors of the Chattanooga Green Prix include The Lyndhurst Foundation, EPB, Volkswagen, TN Valley Robotics, The Fullgraf Foundation, Chattanooga Region Sports Car Club of America, TVA, Chattanooga Breakfast Rotary Club, OTW Safety, Benwood Foundation, Unum, RockRidge Venture Law, The Krystal Foundation, Terracon, Rotary Club of Chattanooga, UnFoundation, Nash Icon 107.9 and Urban Story Ventures.

Photo: Racers are Brody Harp (driving) and Alex Dowlen (Team #04) in the first car and J.T. Black (driving) and Anthony Rimback in the second (Team #93) All four are seventh-graders at Hixson Middle School.