High schoolers crack the code to truck electrification

The reality is that sometimes the best ideas come from smart people who lack industry-specific knowledge.

I was reminded of this because of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics’ (SIAM) recent MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge (M3). If you are not familiar with the program, it involves teams of high school students who use mathematical modeling tools to solve a real-world challenge. In this year’s challenge the 760 teams were given 14 consecutive hours to solve problems related to electric trucks. More specifically, they had to create a model to predict the percentage of semi trucks that will be electric in the next few years and decades.

They also were asked to determine the number and locations of charging stations along major U.S. trucking routes that will be needed for an all-electric trucking industry. And, finally, they were asked to prioritize which routes should be targeted first for development of electric charging infrastructure.