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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (ECA) -- The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas will host the 11th annual Electric Vehicle Rally on Friday, April 25 at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds in Little Rock. More than 184 participants representing an event-record 14 schools from across the state will compete in the day-long competition.

The students are involved in the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas Electric Vehicle program that includes a curriculum that incorporates a variety of disciplines, including math, auto mechanics, physics, engineering, electronics and journalism. Students participate in competitions that test the students' abilities and their vehicles' performance capacities. The public is invited to attend the rally events that begin at 9 a.m. There is no charge to attend.

"The annual rally has continued to grow each year as interest in electric vehicle technology has grown," said Rob Roedel, manager of corporate communications for the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. "The students involved with the electric vehicle program are taking advantage of opportunities to prepare themselves for the future through a well-planned program that is powered by dedicated teachers and the 17 local electric cooperatives in Arkansas."

The event kicks off with technical inspections and rigorous safety inspections of the student vehicles. Then, oral presentations by the students and troubleshooting competitions test teams' abilities. Next, academics are left behind as the participants move to the track and strap on helmets for an acceleration event. An autocross competition follows with many twists and turns. Teams then participate in a quiz bowl to test their knowledge of science and electric vehicles. The teams then return to the track to test how far the vehicles can go on a single charge. The on-track and pit lane strategies make this event one of the most exciting in the rally.

Participants in this year's rally include: ATU-Ozark; Arkansas Career Training Institute; Bryant High School; Cabot High School; Central Jr. High (Springdale); Fayetteville High School; George Jr. High (Springdale); Hamburg High School; Hillcrest High School; Mabelvale Jr. High; Paragould High School; Ramay Jr. High (Fayetteville); Viola High School; and Woodland Jr. High (Fayetteville).

Throughout the year, students complete activities, develop video presentations and take part in a wide range of projects. The highlight of this project is the design and construction of electric vehicles that the students enter in the statewide competition.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 500,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.

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