Sixteen high school teams sped around Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative’s property on May 13 in the second annual Shenandoah Valley Electric Vehicle Grand Prix.

A soapbox derby for electric vehicles, the grand prix measures how many laps a car can make in an hour. High school teams built their vehicles from a kit, partially funded by SVEC and Old Dominion Electric Cooperative. SVEC was the host and primary event sponsor.

“Everyone had a blast. It was a fun day of racing, but the real takeaway is the teamwork and learning students experienced in the months leading up to the competition,” community relations specialist Lydia Weaver says. “We were also able to share opportunities within the electric co-op, like scholarships and potential career paths, to more than 200 high schoolers.”

Students worked within certain regulations, such as battery weight, in constructing their vehicles. They were encouraged to be innovative to maximize their race performance, and they were asked to promote their work to increase interest at their schools. The marketing aspect of the event can appeal to students who are not interested in engineering, as does the graphic design opportunity for vehicle bodies.

To conduct the event, SVEC partnered with Global EEE, an educational nonprofit whose founder moved to the Shenandoah Valley during the pandemic.

–Report by Preston Knight, Communication Manager, Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative.