Electric cars Electric race cars that were designed and built by high schoolers and community college students from Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin will compete on the stock car track in Cedar Rapids over the next two weekends.

 Jeff Beneke directs the "Electrathon" program at the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education.

Beneke says there are multiple goals for the race. Beneke says they want to support the industrial tech programs while encouraging students to go into the programs, pursing science, math and engineering fields, while identifying energy alternatives. He says ten teams will be racing 20 battery-powered vehicles in the events — though they’re not traditional races.

There’ll be two races this weekend, with both being one-hour endurance races, testing the cars to see how many laps they can do in one hour. The slender, colorful cars are small and can only carry the driver. Beneke says it’s always a thrill to see the students roll out these futuristic-looking vehicles year after year.

The cars are designed and built by students in high schools and community colleges so there’s a wide variety in the designs and the cars’ aerodynamics. Some of them cruise at 30 or 40 miles an hour, depending on the track. The event is being held at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids. For more information, visit the Electrathon website.

The teams are from: Pomeroy-Palmer, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Manson Northwest Webster, Muscatine, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Omaha North Magnet, (Nebraska), Watertown (Wisconsin), Iowa Central Community College, MFL MarMac, Iowa City West, Armstrong-Ringsted and Sioux Central.