Sandia Labs News Releases

New Mexico middle schoolers rev up for electric car challenge

Chance Bonham from Berrendo Middle School launches his team’s electric car during the 2022 New Mexico Electric Car Challenge. (Photo by Craig Fritz) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Middle school students from around the state are gearing up to put their STEM skills on the line during the annual New Mexico Electric Car Challenge, sponsored by Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories.

Teams of sixth, seventh and eighth graders will compete to build an electric car that travels the fastest while carrying a payload the size of a container of table salt.

The teams have been working both inside and outside the classroom since September to perfect their designs, materials and assemblies. While students must include a few required materials and specifications, they are otherwise free to design their cars as they choose.

Students are scored not only on speed but also on their research and their oral presentation. This year’s topic: “What are the most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions throughout the lifetime of a vehicle?”

The Roosevelt Middle School team presenting their car design during the 2022 New Mexico Electric Car Challenge sponsored by Sandia and Los Alamos national labs. (Photo by Craig Fritz) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.

Along with bragging rights and accolades, the winning team receives a $350 classroom exploration package from Explora to further their interest in STEM.

Fifty teams from 21 schools in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Tijeras, Ruidoso, Pojoaque, Questa, Roswell, Española, Carlsbad and White Rock will compete this year.

Now in its 15th year, the New Mexico Electric Car Challenge aims to electrify students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math. It teaches not only STEM concepts but also team building and creative thinking skills and presents students with technical challenges like those scientists and engineers face every day.

If you ask the kids, though, the biggest benefit is that they get to build something really cool that goes really fast.

What: New Mexico Electric Car Challenge
Where: Kennedy Middle School, 721 Tomasita St.
When: Saturday, Nov. 4
8:30 – 11:40 a.m. — Initial races and presentations
Noon – 1 p.m. — Presentation finals
1:15 – 2 p.m. — Race finals
2:15 p.m. — Awards ceremony
RSVP: Kim Vallez Quintana,, 505-537-3294
Media is invited to attend and interview students, coaches and organizers and volunteers from Sandia National Laboratories


Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia Labs has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness, with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California.