Solar Powered Car Racing Is A Growing Sport.
Elon Musk and Tesla Motors, brought electric car technology to the attention of the world. The latest offerings from Tesla have pushed many of the established car makers towards their own electric vehicle strategy. The prices for electric cars and motorycles continue to drop while the available driving range is increasing.
For many years, electric car technology remained something that was not taken seriously. We all remember GM’s first attempt at an electric car in the 1970’s that was seemingly killed by GM execs. Check out the movie, ” Who Killed The Electric Car” if you have not seen it already.
What about solar powered cars? Are they in the same position that electric vehicles were for the last 100 years? Something that is possible but nowhere near viable or cost effective?
Engineering Students Take Solar Powered Car Racing To The Next Level.
Universities around the world are working to both answer this question and solve the problems. Solar car teams spend their free time, designing, building and testing their solar car creations. This is all in preparation for the grand event, the Solar Car Challenge held each year in Darwin Australia. Racing in the Australian outback provides a race environment that is both perfect and unforgiving. The level of solar resources available is close to the highest in the world. The temperature and terrain is amoung the most inhospitable to humans and life.
In this video from the University of Michigan you will see how a team of engineering students, sponsored by FORD Motor Company prepares for this challenge. The video is brought to you by INTEL, and they act as the computing technology behind the solar car.
Travelling with the team’s solar car is the chase car. Data from the solar car such as speed, battery charge, solar levels, wind and much more are constantly sent between the chase car and the solar car. It is with this data that the team can improve the current solar car and start to envision the next prototype.
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Gordon’s expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.