Greenpower Electric Car Challenge
Greenpower is an electric car challenge that requires students, guided by teachers and mentors, to design, build and then race an electric car. It offers middle and high school students an opportunity to engage in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities in a team environment. By building and racing a single-seat electric car alongside their peers, students learn by doing and gain relevant STEM experiences.
The Greenpower Electric Car Challenge launched in Utah in 2015 with a handful of schools taking part. Since then, the challenge has expanded to 20 schools throughout the state in 2018. The event showcases the work of the students at participating schools competing for the most efficient car. The race starts with 45-minute qualifying heats to determine advances to the final round. The teams that advance to the final round, then race in a single heat for 90 minutes. Cars are scored on the number of continuous laps with extra points awarded for cars completing the fastest laps.
Competing schools start with a car kit and access to a self-paced, online course, created by a professor at Utah State University, to assist in the development of the car. Students work in teams to plan and build a car, recruit potential sponsors, complete coursework, create videos, and facilitate the logistics of transporting the car from the school to the track. The teams are also encouraged to research current transportation challenges in Utah to discover how the Greenpower Challenge could help resolve issues, allowing students to gain an understanding of the importance of the project beyond the scope of the classroom. The Greenpower Electric Car Challenge is a partnership between USU STARS! GEAR UP, the Utah Governor’s Office of Energy Development (OED), USU’s Electric Vehicle & Roadway Research Facility (EVR), and College of Engineering, Siemens, and GreenpowerUSA.
The Greenpower Electric Car Challenge isn’t about winning, and instead focuses on gaining essential skills and knowledge in STEM subjects, encouraging students to consider a career in one of those areas.