Sandia LabNews

Students zip through NM Electric Car Challenge


Students zip through NM Electric Car Challenge

Berrendo Middle School in Roswell took first place in the annual Electric Car Challenge sponsored by Sandia, Los Alamos National Laboratory, PNM, and Intel.

Two students watch as their electric cars race down a 10-meter track during the New Mexico Electric Car Challenge. More than 150 middle school students from across New Mexico participated in the challenge, presented by Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, PNM and Intel. 

The challenge, held Nov. 19 at Albuquerque’s Van Buren Middle School, is an annual STEM event in its 10th year. Students formed 5-person teams at the beginning of the school year and were provided basic materials—a lithium-ion battery, a direct-current motor, and other materials such as a chassis and wheels—needed to build their cars.

“Our goal is to expose students to basic engineering. This allows them to see how math and science intersect,” said Amy Tapia, Sandia’s community relations manager.

The teams were also required to give oral presentations on the designs of their cars, as well as the challenges they faced while constructing and running them.

The challenge, held Nov. 19 at Albuquerque’s Van Buren Middle School, attracted some 150 middle school students from across the state.

In the challenge, now in its 10th year, students formed five-person teams at the beginning of the school year and were provided basic materials — a lithium-ion battery, a direct-current motor, and other materials such as a chassis and wheels — needed to build their cars.

“Our goal is to expose students to basic engineering. This allows them to see how math and science intersect,” says Sandia Community Involvement Dept. 3652 Manager Amy Tapia.

The teams discussed the designs of their cars, as well as the challenges they faced while constructing and running them. Teams also presented their research about using batteries as a power source.

Other top finishers included the sixth grade academy at Alta Vista Middle School in Carlsbad, which took second place for the second year in a row, and Carlsbad Intermediate School, which came in third.

Students check their team standings after racing their electric car.
Students watch as their electric cars race down the practice track during the New Mexico Electric Car Challenge.
Katrina Wagner (left), a community relations specialist and Sandia volunteer, prepares to write down the time during the first heat of races during the New Mexico Electric Car Challenge. More than 150 middle school students from across New Mexico participated in the challenge, presented by Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, PNM and Intel. 

The challenge, held Nov. 19 at Albuquerque’s Van Buren Middle School, is an annual STEM event in its 10th year. Students formed 5-person teams at the beginning of the school year and were provided basic materials—a lithium-ion battery, a direct-current motor, and other materials such as a chassis and wheels—needed to build their cars.

“Our goal is to expose students to basic engineering. This allows them to see how math and science intersect,” said Amy Tapia, Sandia’s community relations manager.

The teams were also required to give oral presentations on the designs of their cars, as well as the challenges they faced while constructing and running them.
A student waits to grab his car at the end of the track while a volunteer from Sandia National Laboratories watches. More than 150 middle school students from across New Mexico participated in the challenge, presented by Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, PNM and Intel. 

The challenge, held Nov. 19 at Albuquerque’s Van Buren Middle School, is an annual STEM event in its 10th year. Students formed 5-person teams at the beginning of the school year and were provided basic materials—a lithium-ion battery, a direct-current motor, and other materials such as a chassis and wheels—needed to build their cars.

“Our goal is to expose students to basic engineering. This allows them to see how math and science intersect,” said Amy Tapia, Sandia’s community relations manager.

The teams were also required to give oral presentations on the designs of their cars, as well as the challenges they faced while constructing and running them.