BCCCA students to show electric car at Heavy Metal in Motion

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Visitors at the 10th annual Heavy Metal in Motion will have a chance to view an electric car built by a group of mechatronics students from the Bartow County College and Career Academy.

The event, scheduled for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, will give kids — and adults who still feel like kids — an opportunity to see helicopters, fire trucks, police cars and a variety of other vehicles as well as the BCCCA class' Electrathon America car.     

"We will have two helicopters landing, including an Army Blackhawk," Tellus Executive Director Jose Santamaria said. "There will be fire engines from the Cartersville and Bartow County fire departments; vintage vehicles, including a 1953 Kaiser from the future Savoy Automobile Museum; a Georgia State Patrol SWAT vehicle; and much, much more."

Santamaria said the popular fall event is an "extension of our transportation gallery, the Millar Science in Motion gallery."

"We have all types of vehicles in the gallery, and we thought it would be neat to bring all kinds of vehicles onto our grounds as well," he said.
 
BCCCA engineering teacher Lanier Turley said four of his second-year mechatronics students in grades 10-12 will accompany the electric car — one of two bought last year with a donation from Georgia Power for students to enter in Electrathon America competitions — to the event.

"They will be explaining the competition and their work on the cars and answering questions from the crowd," he said. "We like to be involved in community events in order to share the opportunities and benefits that we provide for our students at the BCCCA. It is also an opportunity for our students to showcase their accomplishments and to learn more about the community at large."  

Junior Brittany Gomez will be telling visitors at the event about all the features of the car while senior Brandon Collins will focus on explaining its electrical system.  
 
Both students said they wanted to participate in the event to "be more involved in the community."

Gomez, who attends Cass High, said she hopes visitors will see that "as a group, we have employability skills because they are focused on at BCCCA," and Collins, a student at Adairsville High, said he wants to "show off what we have managed to get done so far this year." 
 
Turley said since this is the first year the class has had the vehicles, "we are spending our time constructing the cars right now."

"They were ordered as kits, which must be built from the ground up," he said, noting teams of students work on different parts. "This semester, they have been attaching the fiberglass body to the frame; assembling the suspension, steering and brake components; installing the electrical system, etc. Our goal is to compete with these vehicles at our first opportunity after completing our builds this year." 

"The electric car is a good project for team-building and communication," Gomez, 16, said.

Collins, 17, said he thinks the electric car is "cool, and it helps the group to learn and progress through the year." 

At the "fun outdoor-indoor event for kids of all ages," attendees can witness helicopter landings, see unique vehicles and "climb into most of them, including the Blackhawk," Santamaria said.  

"If you get here before 11 a.m., you will experience something very exciting because the Blackhawk lands at 11 a.m. then Erlanger’s LifeForce helicopter lands at 11:30 [a.m.]," he said. "And I’ll warn everyone that it’s also noisy because cars and trucks rev their engines, and fire trucks wail their sirens. That’s part of the fun at Heavy Metal." 

The helicopters will take off at 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

At 2 p.m. in the Tellus Theater, Anna Cullen and Stewart Massey from The Ray, a nonprofit organization engaged in exploration of innovative technologies that will make driving safer, smarter and more sustainable, will give a special lecture titled "Let's Drive the Future."

The technologies they will be discussing are being used in a pilot project on an 18-mile stretch of Interstate 85 between LaGrange and the Alabama state line that will show "what the future of our highways are going to be," Santamaria said.

Those who are interested also will have a chance to meet staff members from The Ray from 1 to 2 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. in the theater alcove.
 
Other happenings on tap for the event include educational activities for kids, bounce houses, photo ops, a sale in the museum store and a special cookout-style menu in the outdoor cafe. 

Santamaria said Heavy Metal drew 1,800 visitors last year, and museum officials "expect more this year." 
 
The event is free for museum members and active military with ID and included with regular admission for nonmembers: $15.95 for adults, $13.95 for seniors 65 and older, $11.95 for students with ID and children ages 3-17 and half price for active duty dependents with ID. All prices are plus tax.