The activity was just one of many taking place across the country this year for the Year of Engineering, an HM Government campaign showing young people that engineering can be an exciting and rewarding career.
Students and apprentices (15 to18 years) involved in the Manchester-based Blair Project’s ‘ProtoEV innovation challenge’ have had 8 months to convert used petrol-driven go-karts into fully-electric high-powered ‘e-karts’.
It is skills such as these that the government will seek to harness as part of its Industrial Strategy mission to put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles; making all new cars and vans effectively emission-free by 2040.
The karts on display today (12 September 2018) at Millbrook Proving Ground, one of Europe’s leading test tracks for automotive research and development, demonstrate the technical skill of the competitors and the immense value of this vocational hands-on approach in inspiring future engineers.
Once the karts are built teams then compete against each other to see who has created both the fastest and most energy-efficient vehicle.
The ProtoEV competition was recently approved by the Motorsports Association as a motor club in its own right, which means a new development series will go ahead this autumn with full blown championship racing by 2020.
Through working with inspirational partners like the Blair Project, the Year of Engineering aims to give young people across the UK a million direct and inspiring experiences during 2018, transforming traditional perceptions of engineering as a career.
Jesse Norman, Transport Minister, said:
This is an exciting time for automotive engineering; one that has the potential to revolutionise the industry.
The Year of Engineering is focussed on inspiring the next generation of engineers to take on these bold challenges.
Through converting old go-karts into these new electric vehicles, the young people of the Blair Project have demonstrated just the kinds of skills that will be needed if the UK is to lead the world in zero emissions technologies.
Blair Project CEO Nile Henry said:
There is a serious shortage of young people going into engineering in the UK. We are trying to plug that gap by providing a project-based learning activity that gives young people the hands-on, practical experience and life skills that employers want.