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Photo of Solar Decathlon Director Richard King being interviewed by a videographer.

California Challenge Brings Energy-Efficient Racing to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO

Friday, August 23, 2013

By Amy Vaughn

Mark your calendars for an exciting new addition to the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO! Oct. 4–6, 2013, the XPO Transportation Zone will feature the California Challenge, a competitive time trial of energy-efficient vehicles. 

The California Challenge joins two energy-efficient racing competitions in one exciting event with the goal of educating high school and collegiate students while increasing public awareness of efficient electric vehicles. The objective is to drive alternative-energy vehicles as far as possible in one hour on a closed-loop course using limited electrical energy. The California Challenge includes:

  • Energy Invitational
    The Energy Invitational is a competition to determine which team can drive the farthest on $1 of the energy of their choice. University race teams, enthusiasts, hobbyists, inventors, Formula Sun Grand Prix competitors, and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) race teams are welcome to compare their performance on the same track on the same day.
  • Electrathon America
    Electrathon vehicles are single-person, lightweight, aerodynamic, high-efficiency vehicles that are electrically powered by standard lead-acid battery packs. High school teams will compete to see who can drive the farthest in one hour.

The California Challenge provides a same-track, same-day comparison of the performance of different types of energy-efficient racers. All races are open to the public.

Photo of electrathon vehicles racing on course marked by traffic cones.

The 2013 Washington DC Electric Vehicle Grand Prix at National Harbor on June 8 featured high school teams racing Electrathon electric vehicles. The top three teams are invited to race in the California Challenge Oct. 4–6. (Credit: Richard King/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

The Orange County Great Park—located on the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Irvine, California—is the host of U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO. The Orange County Great Park has four runways, each 1 mile long. These runways provide an excellent venue for vehicle time trials and performance demonstrations.

Learn more about the California Challenge or register your team today.

Amy Vaughn is the Web coordinator of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon.

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