Girls zoom into national final with electric Cyclops

Cyclops the electric vehicle has won a team of talented Taranaki students a spot in an exciting national final.

Six New Plymouth Girls’ High School students used scrap metal and old bike parts to build electric vehicles that took them from the local Science Fair, to the regional finals of the nationwide Evolocity Electric Vehicle Competition.

Later this month Amber Winch, Vamika Satrasala, Vaela Mendoza, Elana Nicholas, Zoe Turner and Hana Yim hope to take out at least two titles at that national final.

They’ll be competing in events like the drag race and the street circuit, with their mighty electric vehicle Cyclops.

Cyclops rocked the regional competition and was awarded the “most innovative engineering” award because it was the only vehicle that could reverse.

The girls say the project started with the WITT Taranaki Science Fair, where they experimented and welded and eventually created a trolley and forks cut from 20-inch children’s bikes.

Despite winning a number of awards, the vehicle had some issues so the students returned to the drawing board and reworked elements like the steering and the stability of the trolley.

They abandoned the original trolley and a new frame was built, and with a 1000w hub motor and 48V lithium batteries, Cyclops was born. They also built a second electric vehicle, known as Koopa King.

Teacher and mentor Athol Hockey said the initiative was part of a bigger Curious Minds science project which he had set up at the school to monitor electricity generation at the school’s whare, Tohonohono Marae.

He said the students had a great time at the regional competition and were looking forward to competing with Cyclops in the nationals on November 24.

The team had been greatly helped by many local businesses in the community, who all deserved a thank you, he said.

He thanked: Rivet engineering –  building the aluminium car, Ken Agar (Melo Yelo) –  electronics expertise and electric motor advice and help, Heather Ross –  Hub Motor and batteries for cyclops, First Gas – financial help in the form of a donation, Powerco for loaning us their Hyundai Ioniq EV for the trip, Peter Hoffman for making a new steering rack for cyclops, and Venture Taranaki – for financial help as a “Curious Minds” project.