An all-girl team has for the first time won first place in a regional contest for the DaimlerChrysler "Build Your Dream Vehicle" competition.
The team of five students from Perry Hall High School in Baltimore will travel to Detroit later this month to compete against eight other teams in the national competition. The regional competitions are in their sixth year, the national in its first.
The students—Eun Lim, Lindsay Kegel, Lindsay McCann, and Lauren Jones, all juniors, and Abigail Atkinson, a senior—won in March with their model for a pickup truck that runs on a biodiesel fuel made from vegetable oil, methanol, and lye. The ingredients are easily obtained, and the students' engineering teacher, Mike McIntyre, suggested that manufacturers could even recycle used oil from fast-food restaurants.
The DaimlerChrysler judges evaluated the students' market research and the vehicles' environmental friendliness, safety, ergonomics, and engineering design. The Perry Hall team's main marketing focus was the federal government, which plans to convert 40 percent of its 150,000-vehicle fleet to alternative-fuel sources, Mr. McIntyre said.
The team's winning vehicle features a fold- down tailgate ramp for loading cargo. The team designed both a no-frills version at a projected cost to consumers of $23,000, and a luxury model at $28,000.
Sterling Armstrong, DaimlerChrysler's program coordinator for the competition, said he was pleased but not surprised that an all-girl team won the regional competition. "They had a great vehicle, a great concept, and a lot of background information," he said.
The team members' career plans include graphic design, biomedical and architectural engineering, ophthalmology, and veterinary medicine, but not automobile design.
At least not yet.
"We're really excited about going to the nationals," Ms. Lim said.
Vol. 19, Issue 35, Page 3