Showcasing Alternative Power for Transportation

By Richard King

An important component of the XPO is demonstrating cleaner ways to power our transportation. The Orange County Great Park has four runways, each 1 mile long, located in the middle of the park. These runways provide an excellent venue for vehicle time trials and performance demonstrations.

Electrathon students
The 2013 Washington, D.C., Electric Vehicle Grand Prix at National Harbor on June 8 featured high school teams racing Electrathon electric vehicles. Photo: Richard King/U.S. DOE Solar Decathlon

The XPO’s Transportation Zone will showcase the latest cars and newest innovations on the market — or those soon to be parked outside your home. During the eight-day Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO, you can test-drive fuel-efficient hybrids and zero-emission, plug-in electric vehicles by various manufacturers. In addition, a series of vehicle competitions will be held Oct. 4–6.

In addition, a series of vehicle competitions will be held Oct. 4 – 6, 2013. The California Challenge comprises three active racing programs that all share the goal of educating high school and collegiate students while increasing public awareness and understanding of efficient electric vehicles and related technology. The objective is to drive alternative-energy vehicles as far as possible in one hour on a closed-loop course using limited electrical energy.

These competitions include —

Energy Invitational: A competition to determine which team can drive the farthest on $1 of the energy of their choice. University race teams, enthusiasts, hobbyists, inventors and OEM 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 be competing to see who can drive the farthest in one hour.

Electric Vehicle Grand Prix
Car #249 from Clarksburg HS won the first Washington DC Electric Vehicle Grand Prix at National Harbor , June 8. The top three teams are invited to race in the California Challenge this Oct. 4-6 in the XPO’s Transportation Zone. Photo: Richard King/US DOE/Solar Decathlon

Formula Sun Grand Prix: Solar-powered cars are typically raced cross-country or around a closed course over multiple days. Using sun- light as their only power source, the solar cars will be merged into the Energy Invitational format of one-hour heats.

Energy-efficient transportation will also be evident throughout the solar village, where Solar Decathlon 2013 teams will be allowed to park and demonstrate electric vehicles on their house lots. About half of the teams are planning to do this.

Check out to learn more about everything that’s being planned for the XPO.

See the accompanying article on the Solar Decathlon 2013.

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