Seniors dream up alternative-energy car

Four seniors are trying to design the most energy-efficient car in the world. They aim to create an alternative energy solution that will beat out all other gas-saving competitors, including hybrids and small and lighter cars. The vehicle they plan to make features a multi-alternative energy system that incorporates solar, electric and wind power.

Rory Handel ‘09, Maxx Bricklin ‘09, Sun Ho Lee ‘09 and Carl Lawson ‘09 formed RORMaxx Automotive over the summer and have started constructing this green vehicle called Formula AE. The four seniors are creating this project as part of their Studies in Scientific Research Class taught by Antonio Nassar.

After four months of work, the group has finalized all of the conceptual engineering and design and mechanics of the car. Last year in SSR, Handel and Lawson completed a small running model version of a similar electric vehicle in a 1:12 size ratio to the actual race car.

Lee said their technology has proven to be at least 12 percent more energy-efficient than the average hybrid vehicle.

Aside from the four seniors, people outside of SSR have taken great interest in the project and invested in the project. However, the four seniors are still looking for additional investors to fund the completion of the vehicle, which is expected to cost tens of thousands of dollars. It is anticipated that this will be settled by the end of October.

They plan to build the final version of the car at their technical sponsor’s workshop in Van Nuys. They are tackling the head engineering, mechanics, and business on their own for this project, but are hiring outside technicians and exterior designers.

The team plans on spending the next five months perfecting the multi-alternative-energy technology. They will hope to test the Formula AE car at Willow Springs Raceway in the summer of 2009.

The seniors want to propose their technology to global companies, mainly in the oil industry. They hope that a company will take their technology into production.

“High school students of the current generation are too afraid to take risks,” Handel said. “They need to think big and not be afraid to pursue an innovative idea.”