It’s Electric

Readers identify the people and circumstances surrounding this image, which was published in the spring 2020 issue

Students around a car they made.
Click or tap on the photo to look closer.

Electric Car Club

This picture is of the first ERAU Electric Race Car taken from the main Prescott ERAU parking lot in 1993. I remember ERAU Security clocking this electric car at 110-plus MPH during our test runs. Of course, this was on the Prescott Airport runway, not around the campus parking lot. I remember the airport tower contacting us, amazed at the high speeds that we were doing. I was the first ERAU Electric Car Club President from 1992-1994, where we built this electric car from ground-up to race at the Arizona Public Service (APS) Solar & Electric at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). We took third place.

An electric car chassis in a parking lot with driver seated, other students standing nearbyThis project started from our first Saturday club event to dismantle a donated Volkswagen bug for the use of its front and rear suspension. Then, the team held a yard sale, to sell the remaining parts that were used to initially fund this project. … My goal was to involve many of the majors: electrical engineering/computer science to focus on the electric motor/controller and batteries, aerospace engineering to focus on wind tunnel testing and construction of the frame and composite body, aeronautical science to assist in safety and piloting the car, and aviation business administration to manage the finances and sponsorships. Also, this project involved a large number of sponsorships, e.g.: Prescott Steel & Supply donated the chrome molly tubing, Goodyear donated the tires and did the alignment, HEXCEL donated the honeycomb composite that was used to encapsulate and protect the driver, and GE donated the electric motor/controller.

I believe that this project provided valuable hands-on experience for all of the team members. Along with the technical skills that we learned, I remember suiting up for business presentations with GE and APS, learning how to seek funding and support from our sponsors, learning leadership skills and learning how to work together as a team. This project taught me valuable lessons that I have been able to use in my career as a lead, staff systems engineer at L3Harris/ACSS located in Phoenix, where we develop aircraft communication and surveillance products, enabling safety of flight. This was a life experience I will never forget!

There were many people involved in this project. Some of them are in this photo. I recognize Seth Ward (top left), Tony Dibb (’09) (driver), and Todd Worden (’97) (right of driver).

Our main leadership team consisted of: Mac Romeiser, faculty adviser; Mike Zuehlsdorff (’95), vice president; Vi Quach (’96), race coordinator and driver; Tony Dibb (’09), driver; Jason Giddings (’98), designer; Jason Anderson (’94), safety coordinator; Mark Lubinski (’94), finance; and Dave Hatch (’94), finance.

Tom Eich (’94)
B.S. Electrical Engineering & Electric Car Team President

ACES Demonstration

That’s me in the purple shirt. This picture was taken around 1993 at the Prescott Campus. I was there for an alumni advisory group – I think the Alumni Council for Enrollment Support (ACES program). I was president of the Seattle Alumni Chapter at the time. The students had started an electric car program and they showed it off to our group and raced it around the parking lot.

James Ahrens (’90)
B.S. Aeronautical Studies

Free Ride

I’m glad I clicked on the picture. I’m in it. I’m on the left side bent over at the waist wearing an Embry-Riddle sweat shirt with blue shoulders. The picture was taken at an OctoberWest. It was a demonstration of the electric car built by the students. I got to drive it. I’m pretty sure I was the oldest grad there and I jumped at the chance to try it out. The car was going to be in a competition in Phoenix.

Anthony “Tony” Walsh (’83)
B.S. Aeronautical Studies