ELECTRIC YOUTH: High schoolers rev up for EV challenge

The EV Pioneers are made up of local high school students.

The EV (Electric Vehicle) Pioneers is the only high school team in Ottawa competing in this year’s University of Waterloo EV Challenge this spring. They are an earnest group of local high school students that hope for a cleaner, safer and fresher future.

The team has students from grade nine to twelve with diverse skills sets and strengths: from Arduino experts, robotics champions, computer programmers, to bike mechanics and small engine enthusiasts. These students are coming together to channel their passions into this year’s race. Two of the team leads for the project, brothers William and Adam Rolston, are Stittsville residents.

The EV Pioneers will be racing against teams from all over the country. Being a first year team they are the underdogs of the challenge, facing teams that have competed in the challenge for the over fourteen years. It’s a daunting challenge but they are using the pressure to fuel them.

“We have a group of students willing to give ten plus hours a week, on top on their studies, to make this happen. We’ve had former race winners in to help us out. We really want to win this race. There are a lot of sponsors and mentors who have put their confidence in this team and, Lord willing, we are going to win it,” says Isaac MacEvoy, CAD design sub-team member. His team designs the EV in a 3D modeling software with the help and supervision of Zac Harvie.

The Pioneers also have an electrical sub-team, led by William Rolston. This sub-team is responsible for connecting the 12v battery to the motor and installing these electronic components into the vehicle.

Another sub-team is the fabrication team, led by Adam Rolston. This sub-team cuts, welds and assembles the frame and chassis of the EV.

Finally, Gabe Braden (yours truly) and his business sub-team connect with sponsors, the community and manage finances.  Gabe manages the team website where you can follow the EV Pioneers progress! The team is hoping to showcase their vehicle at some upcoming auto shows in the community. You can follow team’s progress at EVPioneers.weebly.com and @ev_pioneers on Instagram.

The EV Pioneers could not compete without the help of their sponsors, namely the title sponsor, Keith Bean and all the staff at Bean Chevrolet, Buick and GMC dealership in Carleton Place. The many mentors who give their time and talents to this team are also invaluable. Many thanks to Stephen and Diana Rolston, the lead mentors, and Conor Turner from the University of Ottawa Baja Team.

The EV Pioneers fabrication team hard at work welding the frame of the EV.
The fabrication team hard at work welding the frame of the EV.

The need for electric vehicle technology is growing exponentially as the importance for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is increasingly legislated. The obvious solution to this global problem is electric vehicles. Electric vehicles (EVs) are more energy efficient, use green sourced fuels for charging, emit no pollutants into the air, and are quieter.

The next generation of engineers and mechanics need to be able to have an understanding of EVs and that’s where the Waterloo Electric Vehicle Challenge comes in. The EV Challenge tasks teams of high school students with designing and building all-electric vehicles that are tested in an annual endurance competition. Teams participate in two races, plus an engineering design competition. This challenge gives students an amazing opportunity to develop skills in engineering, automotive, communication, organization, networking, selling, marketing and teamwork.



Leave a Reply