A dozen teams of Iowa high schoolers are revving up their homemade electric cars in preparation for today’s big race. Pat Higby is spokeswoman for the Center for Energy and Environmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa — host of the “Iowa Electrathon.” Unlike a stock car race for the finish line, Higby says this is an endurance test. Whoever does the most laps in 60 minutes wins. It’s up to the students to design a car and a power train — the motor, controller and battery — to get as much speed and distance as they can. The one-person cars reach speeds up to 30 and 40-miles an hour. Higby says the kids do the research, then design and build the cars, while learning about many elements of science, carpentry, electricity and the environment. Higby says the hand-built electric cars don’t have to cost a lot. The race at U-N-I runs in several heats starting at 11 A-M. Schools taking part include: Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Prairie, Forest City, Jefferson-Scranton, Jesup, Muscatine, Norwalk, Perry, Pomeroy-Palmer, Real World Education in Waverly, St. Ansgar and Waukee.
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