The EV soap box derby: Green STEM Electrathon festival and races

Sat., May 21, at the Florida State Fairgrounds

This weekend, the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa will play host to the Green STEM Electrathon Festival, with races that feature the single passenger EVs designed, built and driven by local youths.

The various races will pit USF Engineering and Hillsborough Community College students against local high school students, showing whose engineering skills are the savviest in two one-hour races. Not wanting to leave out the younger amateur engineers, the elementary and middle school students will be racing their shoe box-sized solar powered cars in the Junior Solar Sprint Card.

"Our vision is to contribute to the laying of a foundation for a green, vibrant, low carbon future full of possibilities and opportunities for tomorrow’s children in the Tampa Bay area. It is our mission to make this contribution by promoting Electrathon Racing and Solar Sprinting, endeavors full of technological entrepreneurial challenges and adventure," state's the event website.

There will be also eco-friendly vendors, companies and schools showcasing their green products and programs at the event.

Best of all, this event is free! Show these bright students some support for all of their hard work and get the chance to see some seriously cool race cars. And unlike any other auto racing event you'd attend, this one won't leave you choking on gas fumes.

Watch the video below to get a sneak peek of the race cars and to learn more about this program.

Saturday, May 21; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Florida State Fairgrounds: 4800 North US Highway 301, Tampa. For more information, visit

Image courtesy of Electrathon of Tampa.


Since 1934, soap box derbys with homemade race cars would take place in neighborhoods and communities, letting youngsters showcase their innovative design efforts.

Fast forward to 2011. With electric vehicles becoming more popular forms of transportation due to consumers wanting to lighten their carbon footprints, the soap box derby is also receiving a 21st century makeover. Forget the gravity-powered racers of days gone by, because today's tech-savvy youth are building their own racers that utilize alternative forms of energy.

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