Meet the Electric Race Car Makers: Electrathon of Tampa Bay

b5ca9796-4093-4eb8-87ed-274c871636b6We’re very happy to be able to host the 2nd annual Electrathon of Tampa Bay Race at Gulf Coast MakerCon!

Electrathon racers are custom built three or four wheeled electric vehicles, similar in overall appearance to a Go-Kart, but powered by an electric motor and batteries. Electrathon class vehicles are defined and constrained by length and width (12 feet long and 4 feet wide maximum) and by battery weight and chemistry (73 lbs, sealed lead acid).  The race goal is to determine which car can travel the furthest distance in one hour’s time within the limitations of battery weight and other factors.

At Gulf Coast MakerCon, about a dozen Electrathon racing teams from around Tampa BayETO Race at MakerCon and Florida, will race on a 1710 ft. long track in front of the Special Events Center.   There will be a two races at Gulf Coast MakerCon – one at 10am and another at 1pm, with opportunities to see cars and teams working on them.

Fredi Beck, Director Public Relations and Treasurer, for Electrathon of Tampa Bay, and Assistant Dept. Manager, Strategic Marketing,  for Hillsborough County Public Schools, told us a bit more about the program.

GCMC: What is Electrathon of Tampa Bay?

FB:  We are a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting schools, clubs, colleges, and electric vehicle enthusiasts with growing their Electrathon racing programs with a STEM-focused view.

GCMC: How does it work?

0a48003e-46a3-43e7-ac5a-909338bde960FB: We encourage and support groups who are designing, building, and racing electric vehicles.  These cars are the size of a go-kart, but are powered by batteries, either traditional lead-acid or lithium.  These cars race on average about once a month at different locations, and each of the three classes of racers (high school/college/ Open lead-acid batter/ Open lithium battery) compete amongst their own groups, although all cars race at the same time on the same track.  We average about 10 – 15 cars per race.  All cars must be built to Electrathon America safety standards to race in our events.

GCMC: What’s the history of Electrathon racing in Tampa Bay?

FB:  This was originally an initiative that was the creation of a group of Hillsborough County Public School employees who were looking for a way to combine engineering/industrial skills/physics/CAD, etc., into a real-world application of academic subjects and skills.  Hence the “design, fabricate, and drive/maintain” focus for every team rather than buying a kit car and just racing.

GCMC: What might Gulf Coast MakerCon guests see during the Electrathon races?

FB:The cars are all uniquely designed and fabricated, and they are fun to watch.  During the lunch break between races, viewers can visit the teams and learn about the cars firsthand. These cars exemplify applied academics at its most fun and effective!

GCMC: Why do you think Gulf Coast MakerCon is a good place to show what you do?

FB: Our emphasis on design and fabrication is what makes us perfect for showcasing at the Gulf Coast MakerCon!

GCMC: What do you hope to get out of attending MakerCon?

FB: We certainly hope to attract new fans, certainly, but also we would like to also gain new interest from other groups and/or schools who would be interested in sponsoring, building, and racing their own Electrathon cars!

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You can learn more about Electrathon of Tampa Bay at ElectrathonofTampaBay.org , to see the race schedule for the rest of the season, as well as learn what you need to know to build your own car!  At Gulf Coast MakerCon, you’ll also be able to see one of the vehicles on display inside the Special Events Center, so you can get up close and personal with the mechanics of the vehicle and learn more.

Get your tickets today, and come spend a day at the (Electrathon) Races!

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