WESTFORD -- This race car was built for endurance, not speed.

The electric car, designed and built mainly by students and staff in Nashoba Valley Technical High School's Electronics/Robotics and Engineering Technology programs, competed in the recent 2008 Electrathon at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough, Maine. It was one of six vehicles entered, and it completed the second-most laps.

Not bad for the car's inaugural run.

The event is a test of endurance. The object is to complete as many laps as possible in one hour. Nashoba Tech's car, driven by David Lapointe of Townsend, a 2008 graduate of the Engineering Technology program, completed 51 laps along a track that is one-third of a mile long, for a total of 17 miles, or an average of 17 miles per hour, though it topped out at about 25 mph.

Nashoba Tech won the Novice Award at the event.

Charles Pentedemos, Electronics/Robotics instructor, and James Landry, Engineering Technology instructor, accompanied Lapointe to the Electrathon, as did Dustin Perley of Groton, a 2008 graduate of the Electronics/Robotics program.

Before the car could enter the Electrathon, it had to pass an inspection, and Lapointe had to prove he could get out of the car, which has a cramped space for its driver, within 20 seconds.

The car was designed with help from the Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, most notably graduate student Bharath Srinivasan, who worked with students in both programs once a week during the 2007-2008 school year.


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UMass Lowell Professor Sam Mil'shtein is also working with Nashoba Tech on building and racing a solar car, an aspect that Landry and Pentedemos hope to expand upon in the 2008-2009 school year.

In addition to the Electronics/Robotics and Engineering Technology programs, students and staff in Nashoba Tech's Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing program painted the car. Other contributors include SEM Products, Shamrock Sales, Custom Coach of Pepperell and Paint DeZign of Westford.