Students Jasmine McDermott, Austin Bercier, Wylie Pietsch, Marlin Sako, Alejandro Sulbaran and Natasha Eden answered the call of Henry Penn of the Arctic Institute of North America’s Kluane Lake Research Station .
He was trying to convert an all-terrain vehicle at the station 220 km northwest of Whitehorse, Yukon, to run on electricity.
The idea of supporting Aboriginal communities particularly appealed to Jasmine McDermott, who is of Cree origin, and Austin Bercier, who is Métis.
We were looking for a project that would make sense to usexplains Jasmine McDermott.
All-terrain vehicles are used to transport both people and goods to the most remote corners of the planet.
The first tests have shown that a modified vehicle has a range of more than 90 minutes and that recharging only requires a traditional power outlet, explains the student.
It works like any other electrical deviceshe points out.
We created it with the average potential user in mind. The advantage of our charging mode is that it has an automatic circuit breaker, so it is impossible to overcharge the vehicle. So it can be plugged in permanently.
Austin Bercier adds that the team has already prepared the plans for the device and the necessary manuals to allow Aboriginal people in remote areas to do the conversion of their ATVs themselves.
Many indigenous communities use these vehicles on a daily basis and we want to give them the opportunity to convert them to greener technology.he explains.
We wanted to allow them to source locally, with parts they can source in Canadahe says.
The conversion costs around $7000 and is done in a week. The biggest challenge of the project was to plan it according to the weather, believes Austin Bercier.
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The needs of Aboriginal people at the heart of the project, says a teacher
According to Kerry Black, Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering, the students wanted to put the needs of Aboriginal peoples at the heart of their concerns from the start.
They knew the community context and kept it in mind throughout the projectshe acknowledges.
They insisted on maintaining an approach that takes into account the needs of Aboriginal people in remote northern communities.
The prototype they worked on was sent back to the Yukon research station. A demonstration is to take place at a conference on sustainable development in remote communities taking place in Whitehorse in a few weeks.