California Challenge

The California Challenge at the Solar Decathlon, October 4-6, 2013

Solar Decathlon at the Orange County Great Park

Solar Decathlon at the Orange County Great Park

Come see the race cars of the future compete at UC Irvine’s California Challenge on Oct. 5 and 6 at the Orange County Great Park.

As part of UC Irvine’s host university duties for the XPO clean energy exposition alongside the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 at the Orange County Great Park, the Henry Samueli School of Engineering will stage the first-ever California Challenge.

Students from across the nation will compete to go as far as they can in one hour on $1 worth of energy from any source. Cars powered by methane and electricity – as well as those with efficient gas engines – will be at the starting line Sat., Oct. 5 and Sun., Oct 6.

In the California Challenge, high school and university teams will test their skills in designing and building electric and alternative-fuel vehicles from scratch. The racetrack, being built on the Great Park’s former military runways, includes a high-speed section, auto-cross section and a staged idle section. The event combines two well-known alternative-fuel racing programs – the UCI Invitational and the Electrathon America.

“The California Challenge is the first national race to evaluate the performance and efficiency of mixed fuels side by side,” said race director J. Michael McCarthy, UC Irvine professor of mechanical & aerospace engineering. “We’re very happy to be doing this.”

The challenge will be part of the XPO Transportation Zone, where the public will have the opportunity to test-drive fuel-efficient hybrids and zero-emission, plug-in electric vehicles. The event will be held next door to the Solar Decathlon, a renowned collegiate competition that challenges U.S. and international collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive.

“The California Challenge will add excitement to the XPO and help us extend the clean energy learning experience beyond the house to the driveway,” said Richard King, director of the Solar Decathlon at the U.S. Department of Energy. “We want to connect budding automotive engineers with their contemporaries in the architecture and construction fields. These young minds will need to work together in the future to design houses that can support alternative-fuel vehicles.”

Together, the Solar Decathlon and the new XPO and California Challenge will create a powerful showcase for technology, education, arts and business related to clean energy.

“We are thrilled to be part of this wonderful event, which uses energy-efficient houses and next-generation vehicles to highlight the best and brightest young people from around the world,” said Gregory Washington, dean of Samueli School of Engineering. “Our students, faculty and alumni look forward to participating. We’ll be serving on the Observer Corps for the solar homes, exhibiting the campus’s cutting-edge research and staging the exciting California Challenge.”

California Challenge registration:  The California Challenge is an invitational event. Racing teams may apply to enter athttp://sites.uci.edu/californiachallenge. For more information on the XPO, visit www.the-xpo.org/xpo

UCI's Engine Lab

UCI’s Engine Lab

The California Challenge joins three energy efficient racing events

The format of the California Challenge provides a same track same day comparison of the energy performance of a different types of energy efficient racers.

The California Challenge is an energy efficiency time trial. The goal is to achieve the maximum average speed using $1 of energy. The course includes a high speed section, an auto-cross section, and a staged idle section. Maximum distance in one-hour wins using $1 of any combination of energy sources wins. This event is presented as part of the Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in association with the Energy Expo.

California Challenge Poster

California Challenge Poster

California Challenge Poster

California Challenge Poster

Electrathon racers to join the California Challenge

Electrathon racer

Electrathon racer

Electrathon race teams from across the United States are invited to Southern California to join the California Challenge. The race format is designed to provide an excellent racing experience for Electrathon teams.

This energy efficiency time trial allows not only comparison of the team performance between Electrathon racers but between other types of race cars as well, including FSAE Electric and Formula Sun.

The light weight and electric power of the Electrathon vehicles provide a natural advantage in the under 250 kg category.

Formula Sun racers to join the California Challenge

Solar racers

Solar racers

Formula Sun racers are designed for gran-prix style road racing, so are not normally time trial vehicles. However, the California Challenge course has been designed to accommodate the vehicles, and the Formula Sun racers with access to free solar energy have a natural advantage in this competition.

The energy time trial format of the California Challenge allows comparison of the Formula Sun vehicles to FSAE Electric and even Electrathon racers. The Formula Sun vehicles are heavier road worthy vehicles and will generally be in the over 250 kg class.

See this Video of the 2013 Energy Invitational

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Race teams from 20 high schools and colleges competed in energy time trials at Adams Motorsports Park on May 11, 2013 at the fourth UCI Energy Invitational. This video captures the spirit of the event.

The California Challenge Poster

The California Challenge is an Energy Efficiency Time Trial

The California Challenge is an energy efficiency time trial. The goal is to achieve the maximum average speed using $1 of energy. The course includes a high speed section, and auto-cross section and a staged idle section. Maximum distance in one-hour using $1 of any combination of energy sources wins.

The California Challenge Course at the Orange County Great Park

Site plan for California Challenge

Site plan for California Challenge

The California Challenge will be held October 4-6, 2013 at the Orange County Great Park in association with the Solar Decathlon and the Energy Expo.

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