BOWLING GREEN - Bowling Green State University's Electric Falcon is nearing its final lap: The electric-powered car will compete tomorrow in its last race, the Formula Lightning Racing Series in Lexington, Ohio.
"I think we have to look at it as it's run its course," said Barry Piersol, assistant to the dean of the College of Technology. "And we're now on to bigger and better things."
Last year, BGSU and nine other universities involved in the Formula Lightning series agreed that October would mark their last event. Mr. Piersol cited a lack of funding sources to support the programs. "It's a financial equation," he said.
That wasn't the case 11 years ago when BGSU built the electric-powered car - at one point it had two - which was popular because of a push for decreased vehicle air emissions.
The Electric Falcon can reach speeds up to 140 mph. During pit stops, student crews replace more than 1,200 pounds of batteries at a time.
The car has finished in the top three positions in 19 of 24 races, bringing home championships in 2001 and 2003.
It gained recognition in the late 1990s when the university was awarded a grant to design, build, and install the electric power train of an experimental bus in Cleveland.
A second grant called for BGSU's technology college to create an electric motor system for testing in space programs.
Yesterday, members of the extracurricular Electric Falcon MotorSports Team spent the day prepping the vehicle for the remaining race. They hope to finish first tomorrow, with longtime driver Larry Crosser of Perrysburg at the wheel.
"We just want to put on a good show," said Alec Byrum, 20, who's studying technology education.
Students don't drive the car - drivers must be licensed by the Sports Car Club of America - but they are involved in all other aspects of its operation.
About 145 students have participated in the club over the years. The 11 current members hope to promote future interest in their group by tackling a new project with another type of vehicle, perhaps one they'll be able to drive.
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