IRVINE, Calif. /California Newswire/ — UC Irvine has been named the official Host University of the XPO, a clean, renewable and efficient energy exposition that will be held alongside the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 at the Orange County Great Park this October 3-6 and October 10-13. The university will also stage the first-ever California Challenge, a time trial competition for energy-efficient race cars at the XPO featuring student-engineered vehicles from across the nation on October 5 and 6.
The Solar Decathlon, a renowned collegiate competition, is being held for the first time outside of Washington, D.C. The award-winning event challenges collegiate teams from across the country and around the world to design, build and operate energy-efficient, solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. Together, the Solar Decathlon and the new XPO will create a powerful showcase for technology, education, arts and business related to clean energy.
“We are thrilled to be part of this wonderful event, which uses energy-efficient houses and next-generation vehicles to highlight the best and brightest young people from around the world,” said Gregory Washington, Dean of UC Irvine’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering. “Our students, faculty and alumni look forward to participating. We’ll be serving on the Observer Corps for the solar homes, exhibiting the campus’ cutting edge research and staging the exciting California Challenge.”
The host university designation formalizes the important role that UC Irvine has played in planning the XPO portion of the Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO joint event.
“UC Irvine has always been a cornerstone of the City of Irvine, so it is fitting that the university would become a major part of one of the biggest events in Irvine’s history,” said Cliff Wallace, Deputy CEO of the Orange County Great Park. “The involvement of UC Irvine will certainly add dynamic new elements that visitors will enjoy.”
Combining two well-known alternative-fuel racing programs, the UCI Invitational, and Electrathon America, “the California Challenge is the first national race to evaluate the performance and efficiency of mixed fuels side by side,” said J. Michael McCarthy, race director and UC Irvine professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. “We’re very happy to be doing this.”
The addition of the California Challenge allows high school and university students to test their skill in designing and building electric and alternative-fuel hybrid vehicles. Cars powered by methane and electricity – as well as those with efficient gas engines – will compete. The race track, being built on the former military plane runways at the Great Park, includes a high-speed section, auto-cross section and a staged idle section. The maximum distance traveled in one hour using $1 worth of energy from sources wins the challenge.
“The California Challenge will add excitement to the XPO and helps us extend the Solar Decathlon clean energy learning experience beyond the house to the driveway,” said Richard King, Director of the Solar Decathlon for the U.S. Department of Energy. “We want to connect budding automotive engineers with their contemporaries in the architecture and construction fields. These young minds will need to work together in the future to design houses that are plug-in ready for charging electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.”
The California Challenge will be part of the XPO Transportation Zone, where the public will also have the opportunity to test drive fuel-efficient hybrids and zero-emission, plug-in electric vehicles.
As part of its XPO host duties, university staff will also videotape key presentations at the XPO’s Powerful Ideas Symposium.
California Challenge Registration
Volunteers will play an important role in the Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO and will work alongside event organizers. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the public who would like to volunteer at the events can register or learn more at http://www.the-xpo.org/participate/volunteers/.
*Editors Note: Photos of California Challenge vehicles and event renderings available upon request.
About the University of California, Irvine
UC Irvine is a fitting partner for the Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO. Its Henry Samueli School of Engineering is at the forefront of education and research in the engineering disciplines that will shape the future. UC Irvine is ranked first among U.S. universities under 50 years old by the London-based Times Higher Education and one of the Sierra Club’s top 10 “Coolest Schools.” Located in coastal Orange County, near a thriving high-tech hub in one of the nation’s safest cities, it was founded in 1965. One of only 62 members of the Association of American Universities, the campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UC Irvine has more than 28,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.3 billion annually to the local economy.
About the XPO
The XPO is a clean, renewable and efficient energy exposition, featuring visionary and innovative companies, products and educational opportunities that will be hosted alongside the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013. The XPO will run concurrently with the Solar Decathlon 2013 from October 3-6 and October 10-13 at the Orange County Great Park. Through fun, interactive exhibits and activities, the XPO will provide visitors with information about the broad spectrum of energy efficiency in home design, transportation, consumer products, food production and education. Visitors will experience actionable ways to implement energy efficiency today and into the future and leave the XPO with tools and resources to live differently. Visit the-xpo.org for more information.
About the Orange County Great Park
Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over Southern California enjoy the Orange County Great Park’s array of recreational and educational opportunities and participate in shared experiences, including panoramic views from the iconic Great Park Balloon that rises 400 feet in the air. Other Great Park features include the Carousel, Farm + Food Lab, Kids Rock Playground, Walkable Historical Timeline, Palm Court Arts Complex, North Lawn recreation area and Historic Hangar 244. In addition to sports clinics, gardening workshops, weekly Farmers Market and other community events, the Great Park hosts an annual series of special events that provide unique experiences for the entire family, including the Great Park Pumpkin Harvest and the Flights & Sounds Summer Festival. With its approximate 1,300-acre master plan, the Great Park is the centerpiece of the redevelopment of the publicly-owned portion of the 4,700-acre former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. For more information, please visit ocgp.org.