Electric Vehicle Grand Prix teaches high schoolers efficiency, promotes STEM

The DC Electric Vehicle Grand Prix is not about who goes the fastest. High school students are tested on how efficiently they can make their battery-powered vehicles. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
The DC Electric Vehicle Grand Prix is not about which car can race the fastest. High school students are tested on how efficiently they can make their battery-powered vehicles. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Though the race started at 1 p.m. on Saturday, the competition actually begins a year before race day, when students use their science, math and engineering talents to start designing and building their vehicles. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Though the race started at 1 p.m. Saturday, the competition actually begins a year before race day, when students use their science, math and engineering talents to start designing and building their vehicles. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Nabih Bedewi, one of the race organizers, said the race promotes STEM education. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Nabih Bedewi, one of the race organizers, says the race promotes STEM education. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
“Everyone has 73 lbs of lead-acid batteries. So the teams that do their strategy properly will end the race with practically nothing left and will have completed the most laps,” said Bedewi. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
“Everyone has 73 pounds of lead-acid batteries. So the teams that do their strategy properly will end the race with practically nothing left and will have completed the most laps,” says Bedewi. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart) (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Jarred Tate competed with the Largo High School Team. It was the team’s first year in the competition. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
“I’ve never done anything thing like this,” said Tate. The whole process was a memorable experience that I’ll take with (me) on to college and the rest of my life.”
Three all-female teams competed in the race this year. In years past, there have been coed race teams.
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The DC Electric Vehicle Grand Prix is not about who goes the fastest. High school students are tested on how efficiently they can make their battery-powered vehicles. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Though the race started at 1 p.m. on Saturday, the competition actually begins a year before race day, when students use their science, math and engineering talents to start designing and building their vehicles. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Nabih Bedewi, one of the race organizers, said the race promotes STEM education. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
“Everyone has 73 lbs of lead-acid batteries. So the teams that do their strategy properly will end the race with practically nothing left and will have completed the most laps,” said Bedewi. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

WASHINGTON — The RFK stadium parking lot was transformed into a racetrack for the fifth annual DC Electric Vehicle Grand Prix, a race that’s not about putting the pedal to the metal, but about teaching local high schoolers about efficiency.

At least 24 teams from 14 different high schools in the D.C. region designed and built their own vehicles based on race rules and standards. The winner is not based on speed, but on driving the electric car the farthest during a one-hour run on a closed track using only battery power.

Nabih Bedewi is one of the race organizers and works with Global EEE (education, energy, environment), a nonprofit that organizes competitions around the world that promote education, energy efficiency and environment consciousness. He said the Grand Prix’s purpose is to promote STEM education.

Bedewi said the competition actually starts a year before race day, when the students use their science, math and engineering talents to start designing and building their vehicles.

“The race itself is an efficiency race. The common factor to all the cars is the amount of batteries that they have. Everyone has 73 pounds of lead-acid batteries,” said Bedewi. “So the teams that do their strategy properly will end the race with practically nothing left and will have completed the most laps.”

This year, there was a first for the Grand Prix: The very first all-female team competed in the race. In fact, there were three all-female teams taking part in the Grand Prix. In years past, there have been coed race teams.

Before the race, Jarred Tate, with the Largo High School team, said that it would be nice to take first place, but because it’s the team’s first year, he was not expecting that to happen. Tate just graduated high school and is heading to Tuskegee University in Alabama where he wants to study business advertising and aviation.

“I’ve never done anything thing like this,” he said. “The whole process was a memorable experience that I’ll take with (me) on to college and the rest of my life.”


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