Hooked on EVolocity events

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Describing it as the highlight of her year, WITT Te Pūkenga Deputy Director and Automotive Lead Kerrie Thomson-Booth, is hooked on EVolocity.

EVolocity is an event that sees local high school and intermediate teams given electric motor kits at the start of the year and an open brief to create an electric kart or bike capable of taking part in drag races, slalom, endurance and efficiency competitions at the end of the year.

Kerrie describes EVolcity as the ultimate ‘learn by doing’ experience.

“The learning naturally falls out of the process without the participants even realising – that’s why I believe in it so much,” she says.

She says watching the ākonga growth is addictive and the participants’ passion and excitement is contagious.

“I get to see the participants start with nothing but ideas, tape and cardboard and over the course of the year plan manage their time, solve problems, test assumptions and work together to create an electronic vehicle.”

She says sometimes she can see something isn’t going to work, but she watches ākonga have a go and figure out the problem and she knows that’s when the real learning is happening.

WITT has taken part in EVolocity since 2021 hosting events, providing workshop space, tools and guidance from herself and her team of mechanical engineers and automotive tutors to complement the nationally run events like CAD and Ardunio workshops.

“There’s a team of people behind an event like this and WITT Te Pūkenga Director, Teaching Partnerships Ben Naughton is the person on the ground working with schools to make the event happen locally and we have amazing support from the EVolocity team nationally,” she says.

The year culminates in the race day. This year the regional final was held at Kartsport in Waitara, with the winners, New Plymouth Boys’ High School's Emmet King and Adam Charles and their kart Cul8r, going on to compete in the finals event in Auckland.

This year, Kerrie was invited to be a guest scrutineer at the national event which saw her check each vehicle for safety ensuring they met the standard required before hitting the track.

“It was wonderful getting to talk to all the students - they tell you their build story; the challenges they faced and what they would’ve done differently.”

She also enjoyed observing the competitors work together encouraging each other, and sharing equipment, material and ideas.

“The future of electrical and mechanical engineering is in good hands.”

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