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Iowa Electrathon car races at UNI Sept. 27

Contact: 

Patricia Higby, energy educator, UNI Center for Energy and Environmental Education, (319) 273-6012
Vicki Grimes, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The annual Alliant Energy Iowa Electrathon Race will be Saturday, Sept. 27, at the University of Northern Iowa's B parking lot across University Avenue from the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center.

This electric car endurance contest promotes energy efficiency and demonstrates the viability of cars powered by electricity, according to Patricia Higby, energy educator at UNI's Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE). Teams from more than a dozen Iowa high schools and one community college, along with teams from Florida, Nebraska and Wisconsin, designed and built one-person electric cars that will compete in heats at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Each heat lasts one hour, and teams are judged on the best of the two heats.

Teams will compete within one of three divisions, new to this year's race. Division 1A (Pioneers and Part-timers) will be new teams or schools with no resources. Division 2A (Limited) limits competitors to spending no more than $2,500 on their cars. Division 3A (Advanced or Unlimited) teams can spend more than $2,500 per car.

Registration and check-in begin at 8 a.m., along with safety inspection and best car evaluation. Braking/maneuverability tests begin at 9 a.m., followed by hot laps at 11 a.m., driver meeting at 11:30 a.m. and the opening ceremony at noon. An awards ceremony will wrap up the day at 3:45 p.m.

Each team must raise funds, obtain donated equipment, handle public relations and report on their progress monthly. School districts or schools with teams in the race are Bayfield (Wis.) Schools, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Elkhorn (Neb.), Forest City High School, Manson-Northwest Webster, North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, Ogden High School, Perry High School, Pomeroy-Palmer, Real World Education in Waverly, Santa Rosa (Fla.), Sioux Central Community School, St. Ansgar and Waukee.

Amy Fitzpatrick, UNI senior communication major from Storm Lake, is the 2003 Iowa Electrathon race director. John Paar, UNI freshman teaching major from Cedar Falls, is the assistant race director.

The event is sponsored by Alliant Energy, the UNI Center for Energy and Environmental Education, the UNI Industrial Technology Center and the Iowa Energy Center in Ames.