Electronic Design

Solar Cars Speed To The Finish Line

The Indy 500 may be fun, but it's got nothing on the American Solar Challenge. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, this clean and energy-efficient event challenges teams of college students to design, build, and race solar-powered automobiles across the United States. This year's ASC took 20 teams on a 10-day, 2300-mile trek along historic Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles. Solar Miner IV from the University of Missouri-Rolla won with a record-breaking time of 51:47:39. The University of Minnesota took second with a 56:36:31 time, followed by the University of Waterloo at 58:11:20. These cars are powered by banks of solar cells that charge a variety of batteries, from $2500 lead-acid sets to $10,000 lithium-ion kits. The cars' construction could be made of simple fiberglass and wood or aluminum, or they can use advanced, lightweight composites. For more information, go to www.americansolarchallenge.org.

TAGS: Mobile
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