SUNY Broome students win a different kind of race at Watkins Glen

Local News

A group of students from SUNY Broome have won a prestigious race at Watkins Glen International Raceway where speed was not the goal.

Students from the Electrical Engineering Technology Department took the grand prize at this year’s Toyota Green Grand Prix held at Watkins Glen last month.

Their retrofitted Chevy Metro was honored for being the most efficient vehicle in the race, beating out production vehicles such as Teslas, Priuses, Chevy Volts and other hybrids.

It used just under 19 kilowatts of electricity to travel 100 miles on the course.

The students installed a battery pack from a Nissan Leaf to power the electric motor and a solar panel on the roof for the remaining electrical needs such as headlights and wipers.

Second-year student Michael DiGiacomo says the students were in the driver’s seat the whole time. “We need to make the decisions on the project and we need to make sure that they are going to work, figure out all of the logistics. It was really cool to have that control and to be able to work with my teammates to make a finished efficient product.” DiGiacomo says, “You can sit around in class and talk about theories and this is how it works, but it’s a lot different if your butt is in the seat trying to move, what the requirements are and what has to be done and how to figure things out.”

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar visited today’s celebration and took the car out for a spin.

This is the third year that the school has participated in the event.

Next year, Gary says the team hopes to enter the Metro along with an electric van they created. 

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