On 7 July 2022, HELP International School successfully debuted their student-built electric go-kart and set the fastest sprint time of 6.94 seconds for a Malaysian student-built go-kart over 50 metres with a 2kw BLDC engine, 48v.
The inaugural team of HELP International School Year 9 Hybrid Go-Kart Design & Build students with Mr Weiron Tan, Director of Motorsports Services Aston Martin Racing Asia; Mr Adam Chan, member of the school’s Board of Governors; Mr Martin Van Rijswijk, School Principal; Mr Matthew O’Shea, Head of Secondary; and Mr Thomas Rothwell, teacher-in-charge of the Hybrid Go-Kart Design & Build elective.
As part of the school’s strategic plan in strengthening its holistic STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) curriculum, this initiative is one of many that provided students the opportunity and exposure to gain hands-on electrical and mechanical engineering skills and experience the results of their work as they test drive the go-karts, and learn that electric vehicles and green technology can create a better world.
Mr Martin van Rijswijk, the school principal, congratulated the inaugural batch of electric go-kart young engineers, “This is what authentic learning looks like. We’re so proud to see the school’s vision of taking learning from the classroom into practical application. HELP International School constantly challenges educational norms and boundaries to provide an innovative and trans-disciplinary learning journey that has true relevance to the future of our students.”
Invited Guest-of-Honour, Mr Weiron Tan, Director of Motorsports Services Aston Martin Racing Asia and Malaysian professional race driver, expressed his excitement at seeing such innovation and learning opportunities offered to 14 -15 year old students, “It was simply amazing that students are capable of building a full electric-powered kart in just 6 months. I am certainly keen to offer support and advice in the upcoming year, and strengthen the collaboration between Motorsports Services Aston Martin Racing Asia and HELP International School.”
After Mr Weiron took to the wheel and put a student-built go-kart to the test, he provided feedback to the students based on a driver’s point of view on the construction of the go-kart such as the angle of the throttle.
The Hybrid Go-Kart Design & Build is an elective under the School Enrichment Programme which runs as part of the weekly timetabled lessons, 2 hours a week. The carefully curated enrichment programme is designed for students aged 13 to 15, and includes electives such as hybrid go-kart design & build, entrepreneurship, podcasting/vlogging, Code School Finland, sports leadership and coaching, Science Crest Awards, photography and percussion ensemble, to name a few. These electives allow students to explore the world beyond the classroom and discover hidden interests and talents.
Year 9 students Jonathan, Marcus and Christie showcasing the prototype of a hybrid go-kart powered by solar and electric energy. They learnt that electric vehicles and green technology can create a better world.
The electric go-karts were assembled from scratch by 24 Year 9 students under the guidance of a teacher from the Design and Technology Department, within a span of six months. The students had to do all the mathematical calculations, learn and apply basic mechanical and electrical engineering, and after many hours of getting their hands dirty, test drove the electric go-karts themselves. The students competed in a head-to-head slalom race, attempted to set the fastest time over 50 metres, and also showcased the prototype of a hybrid go-kart powered by solar and electric energy.
Besides empowering young people, the School’s aim is for HELP International School to set a record for the fastest solar go-kart built by Secondary students in Malaysia, and eventually participate in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia.
Next year, the aim of the team will be to build fully operational solar go-karts. They would like to open the challenge to all schools in the Klang Valley to build their own solar go-karts from scratch for an annual competition hosted by HELP International School.