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Can an Old Refrigerator Be Turned into an Electric Race Car? ComEd Launches New Icebox Derby STEM Initiative

Thirty-one aspiring female inventors will compete to build and race electric cars created from old refrigerators as part of a new initiative launched by ComEd. The program, dubbed “The Icebox Derby,” is co-sponsored by Girls4Science, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana and the Chicago Urban League and is designed to educate and empower young women to explore opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

ComEd Launches First Annual Icebox Derby to Inspire Young Women to Pursue Careers in STEM - To help  ...

ComEd Launches First Annual Icebox Derby to Inspire Young Women to Pursue Careers in STEM - To help cultivate the next generation of women innovators, ComEd, along with community partners Girls4Science, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana and the Chicago Urban league, are launching the first annual Icebox Derby. This six-week challenge is designed to empower young women to explore opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) through a challenging, hands-on competition, where they work in teams to engineer race cars from old refrigerators. On August 23, the teams compete in a final race at the Chicago Field Museum for a chance at glory, and a shot at taking home the "STEM Cup".

This six-week long Icebox Derby project will challenge six teams of girls, aged 13-18, to build electric race cars out of recycled refrigerators. The girls will rely on teamwork and ingenuity to complete the assignment, but will have the support of mentors from ComEd and its community partners and STEM experts on hand to guide them. This exciting educational competition provides a platform by which the girls will gain real world experience and understand some of the practical applications of the STEM subjects they learn in school.

“We are excited to launch this year’s inaugural Icebox Derby, which underscores our commitment to STEM education, and look forward to providing a creative platform for these young women to develop their skills, while showcasing their tenacity, ingenuity and talent,” said Anne Pramaggiore, President and CEO of ComEd. “As the local electric utility in Northern Illinois, we understand that it is our responsibility to help power the communities we serve, not just today, but in the future. In addition to our commitment to advancing the reliability and sustainability of the services we provide, we are invested in helping to cultivate the young people who will become the nation’s next generation of innovators.”

Each week, the teams will participate in a series of challenges that will put their STEM skills to the test as they build their Icebox Derby cars. These weekly challenges will take place at the Derby Garage (451 N. Wood St., Chicago, IL 60622) and include (all times are in CT):

      Date       Challenge    
  July 16, 6:00 pm       “An Icebox What?: Building the Chassis, Wheels and Transmission”  
July 23, 6:00 pm “The Great Engine Enigma: Installing the Electric Motor”
July 30, 6:00 pm “Steering the Way: Setting up the Steering”
August 6, 6:00 pm “Looking Like Pros: Optimizing Car Aerodynamics”
August 13, 6:00 pm “A Bird? A Plane? Oh, It’s an Icebox: Customizing the Car”
August 20, 6:00 pm “The End of the Build and a New Beginning: Racing Trials”
August 23, 2:00 pm RACE DAY (at The Field Museum)

Fans can follow each team’s progress as the race cars come together and show their support for individuals and teams along the way, at Followers can also root them on, using #Empower, as well as each team’s hashtag, which can be found on the Icebox Derby homepage.

The Icebox Derby also leverages ComEd’s Fridge & Freezer Recycling program, aimed at driving energy efficiency. The Fridge & Freezer Recycling program is among a wide variety of programs, tools and resources ComEd offers through its Smart Ideas® energy efficiency programs to help its customers stay environmentally conscious, conserve energy and save money. ComEd recently announced that it achieved a milestone of recycling its 200,000th unit through the program. To learn more about ComEd’s Fridge & Freezer Recycling program, customers can call 855-433-2700 or visit

About ComEd

Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 6.6 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit, and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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