Those of you who know me, know how excited I get when I hear about young people gravitating to the trucking industry. Recently Denise Rondini, NACFE’s communication director, passed along an article from the Chicago Tribune. The article’s headline was High school students compete in Midwest’s first hydrogen-powered grand prix.
I read the article with a big smile and on my face and shouted “Yes!” a few times as I delved into the details of the article.
Six teams from high schools and middle schools from across the Midwest were racing hydrogen-powered, remote-controlled cars in the inaugural Horizon Hydrogen Grand Prix Midwest race. It is important to note here that the students built their own cars. They were competing in the two-hour race to see which team’s car would complete the most laps in that timeframe. The event was hosted by Horizon Educational, in partnership with the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. The technology coalition also partnered with the Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen, known as MachH2, for the race.
I am always heartened when I see young people being drawn into our industry. We are going to need these young minds to continue to help us evolve trucking technology. I am grateful that young people are being exposed to the cool technologies that are in the early development stages in trucking but that will be essential in our future.
The other thing that struck me is that we are again looking at a collaborative effort between several different entities. I truly believe that getting to a zero-emission freight future is going to take cooperation and collaboration from a variety of people and groups some of them—like utilities—that have not collaborated with trucking in the past.
The team from Charles A. Prosser Career Academy located in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood of Chicago won the race and is going on to Las Vegas to compete in the world finals in September. The race finals will feature teams representing about 20 different countries.
That should make all of us in trucking smile and shout, “Yes!”
Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency(NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.