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High school students have spent this school year designing and assembling electric bicycles, or e-bikes. Now, they get to see whose bike is the best climber, most agile, and fastest.

The competition is part of a grant awarded to professors within the College of Engineering by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) competition. The professors’ project, Promoting Sustainable Transportation Among Teens, aims to introduce a small group of high school students to the issues related to the impacts of transportation choice in a fun way.

The event will take place from 2:00 to 5:45 p.m. on Sunday, February 10. There will be three parts to the competition, each with a different location:

  • 2:30 p.m. at the bottom of Tee Martin Drive under the stadium. Students will compete in “Road Trip through UT Football History,” where their bikes will be timed on a hilly course.
  • 3:15 p.m. at Stephenson Drive. Students will compete in the “Late for School” obstacle course, where they will have to navigate obstacles such as trees and traffic cones while carrying books and a class project. They also will compete in “Pedal Pusher” and “Speed Racer” events, which will test the bikes under pedal power only and for raw speed.
  • 4:00 p.m. Bike judging and poster defense in the Min H. Kao Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Building lobby. The bikes will be judged on the quality of assembly. The posters will be judged on factors such as design choices, team knowledge and sustainability analyses of various commuting options, such as cars, buses, electric cars, and e-bikes.

Three teams from West, Fulton, and Farragut high schools have designed and assembled their own electric bikes. This event marks the culmination of a more than semester-long project. The e-bikes’ abilities will be tested on climbing, speed, and agility, among other things.

Undergraduate engineering students have been advising the teams on the design and construction of electric bicycles. The high school teams will orally defend project reports discussing the design process and sustainability impacts of various transportation scenarios, including an e-bike as a commuting option for school and for general personal transportation.

This project is part of the first of two phases of EPA’s P3 competition. In the first phase, teams are awarded a $15,000 grant to develop their idea. They will bring the design in April to the National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington, D.C., to compete for the P3 Award and a grant of $90,000 to take their design to real-world application. Read more about grant announcement in Tennessee Today.

C O N T A C T :

Paul Frymier (865-898-1706,

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460,