UC Irvine and Vital Link host the UCI Energy Invitational

How far can your car travel on one dollar’s worth of energy? After a year spent designing, constructing, building, and then reviewing the energy-efficient one-person vehicles, 17 teams of high school and college students set out to answer that question.

UCI Energy Invitational vehicles were on display at Vital Link’s STEM & the Arts Career Showcase.

Students from UC Irvine, Anaheim, Westminster, Esperanza, Century, Santiago, El Toro, Foothill, and Tustin High School went through a series of three events, including the Design Review Competition, Test Run Day, and Competition Day, which took place on a rainy Saturday in early May.

The events leading up to the competition included the Energy Invitational Design Review, which took place at the STEM & the Arts Career Showcase on April 21st. The vehicles were first classified under lightweight and heavyweight, and were then judged based on design, successful electrical wiring, the rationale for implementing their specific design, and how it will benefit their car’s drivability on race day.

On Saturday, May 6th, high school and college students competed at the UCI Energy Invitational – held at UC Irvine.

Congratulations to the following Energy Invitational Design Review winners:

-Lightweight Division:

Santiago High School, Car #5

-Heavyweight Division:

Foothill High School, Car #88


Saturday, May 6th, was Competition Day. Gray skies lined the horizon as nine heavyweight vehicles and three lightweight vehicles prepared to compete. Through a series of four 15-minute heats, each car had the opportunity to travel the furthest distance possible on the lowest amount of energy.

Through a score calculator that took into account and measured distance and energy used, winners from both categories were recognized. Foothill High School (Car #88) claimed the Grand Prize for the Heavyweight Division, while Santiago High School (Car #5) was named champion in the Lightweight Division.

Unfortunately, due to rainy weather and an oncoming storm, the awards ceremony was not able to take place. Despite the undesirable weather and a couple stalled vehicles, all students walked away with the knowledge on how to build an energy-efficient vehicle, a renewed appreciation for the value of a dollar, and the importance of teamwork and collaboration.