Electric Vehicle Program at the Ozarks

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Luis Romo has a bachelor of science degree in Industrial Design and has spent most of his career designing automobiles, serving as the project development manager for Chrysler Corporation in the design and engineering of the Chrysler Pacifica, the Dodge Dakota, the Grand Cherokee, the Speedster and the Viper. With Panoz Auto Development, he collaborated with Scuderia Bizzarrini from Livorno, Italy on the sleek Italian Ferrari. Not only has Romo designed Ferrari’s and engineered their commanding race performance, but he actually owns a Ferrari that he races. He has worked on projects for Honda, Mazda and Subaru as well.

It is his experience and expertise in transportation design, composite technology and prototype construction that led him to start EV Master. His company believes that the short term future of transportation will be in the hands of those companies manufactured electric and alternative fuel vehicles. EV Master is intended to be a tool to facilitate teachers to display and encourage their students into understanding and adapting alternative transportation systems. Romo has taken these concepts into the classrooms in high schools and junior high schools across Georgia. Some forward-thinking Arkansas teachers and electric cooperative employees got involved in the Electric Vehicle Education Program about four years ago after visiting Georgia and learning how the program operated in the schools.

The Electric Vehicle (EV) Program is designed to build skills in mathematics, auto mechanics, physics and engineering for students who participate. The classroom instructor serves as a facilitator helping the students gain practical knowledge by putting what they learn in the classroom to work by building an electric vehicle that they can actually drive themselves. Students in the EV Program work as a team. Each team works on their electric vehicle throughout the school year studying theory and design, and finally building a vehicle for the statewide Electric Vehicle Rally held at the end of the school year.

The competition for the electric vehicle involves each team showcasing expertise in seven different areas. They begin with an oral presentation by team members on the impact of alternative fuels in our economy and environment. Teams then compete in a Quiz Bowl event where they show what they have learned throughout the year in the classroom by applying that knowledge in the design and construction of their vehicle. Students also compete in a troubleshooting exercise where problem solving skills are thoroughly tested when problems on the car are simulated and each team must figure out what the problem is and how to remedy it to get their car running again. Teams are scored on how fast they can locate and solve the problem.


After all classroom proficiencies are adequately tested, the real fun of the event is staged outdoors. The rally involves an Autocross Event, an Acceleration Event and an Endurance Event. During the Autocross, vehicles are timed on a challenging slalom course that requires the driver to be attentive as well as skilled. In the Acceleration Event the fastest car wins. Finally each vehicle competes head to head on a single battery charge to see which one will run the longest. Besides a winner in each event, one vehicle receives a prize as the overall winner by amassing the largest number of points throughout the day.

Luis Romo came to Fayetteville to introduce the program to teachers from Westville, Oklahoma and Springdale, Arkansas who will be conducting an electric vehicle program in their high schools beginning in the fall of 2007. Romo shared the concept with the instructions and showed them how beneficial the program could be to their schools, but more importantly to their students. “It is a great heads-on program where students can literally see how important math and physics are in everyday living.” Romo said. During a two day workshop, the participants actually built an electric vehicle and were able to test drive one around the grounds at Ozarks Electric’s Fayetteville headquarters. “We are extremely excited to kick off this program and we look forward to expanding the program in the future,” said Keith Kaderly, Manager of Marketing /Energy Services. “These are learning experiences that would be impossible to duplicate in a lecture only setting. Students are going to learn so much more.”

Click here to sign up. For more information on the Electric Vehicle Education Program, call Keith Kaderly at 479-684-4615.

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