Taranaki high school students are getting the chance to take part in an exciting new programme that encourages young people to design, build and compete electric vehicles, thanks to a partnership between Ara Ake, WITT and EVolocity.

The EVolocity programme encourages students to build an electric vehicle, seek mentoring from specialist tutors at build camps and then test their design, performance and innovation against their peers on race day.

Ara Ake Head of Partnerships Bry Kopu-Scott says that it was a great fit for Ara Ake to come on board as the Taranaki partner and is pleased that students within the Taranaki community can have the opportunity to participate in the programme. “We are thrilled that we are able to bring a programme like EVolocity to Taranaki for our young people.”

EVolocity is excited to partner with Ara Ake and Western Institute of Technology to bring this unique and hands-on practical engineering programme to the Taranaki region.” said Sarah Fitzgerald, EVolocity CEO. “EVolocity is more than just a STEM programme. Young people learn about design, project management, team work, budgeting and financing their electric vehicle build making it a multi-faceted platform that has real-world applications and develops innovation by using sustainable clean technologies.”

There are now roughly 64 students from around the region that will compete to be the winning vehicle on race day, which is scheduled to take place in October.

The programme is also being supported by Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT) who are providing the students with classrooms to host the build days, guidance and mentoring from staff, as well as access to the technology and resources required to build the vehicles. At the same time, WITT are educating the students into career pathways that are available including engineering, technology and electrical fields.

“Having WITT as the education partner allows the students to have access to everything that they will need to build their vehicles locally, so we’re very fortunate to have their commitment to this programme”, explains Kopu-Scott.

WITT Director, Teaching Partnerships Ben Naughton said WITT was thrilled to be involved in supporting the region’s rangatahi through the EVolocity project.

“We need more tradespeople, creative thinkers and skilled workers to contribute to Taranaki’s low emissions future, and I’m already seeing EVolocity ignite passions in a number of industries that will really benefit our region.

“I was impressed by the students attending the launch, their passion, innovation and teamwork shows real promise and I cannot wait to see what they come up with. Our tutors here are volunteering their expertise and I know that with their mentors from school, our tutors and the students’ drive, EVolocity in Taranaki will be a huge success.”

Caroline Gunn, Ara Ake’s Business and Digital Project Manager, helped to organise the local launch and believes, “electric vehicles are part of the future and this programme will encourage more students into STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) careers. We are excited to encourage local students into EVolocity to develop skills and confidence as young entrepreneurs, innovators and engineers. This is what a low emissions future requires.”

About EVolocity

EVolocity provide high school teams with an electric bike componentry kit. During the course of the year, they design and build their own electric vehicles. At the end of the year, they bring their vehicles to a motorsport park for fun competitions. The end of year event also features demonstrations and test drives of electric bikes, go karts, motor bikes and cars, educating the public as to what is available and dispelling myths around the performance capabilities of EVs. For more information on EVolocity, please visit evolocity.co.nz.