Tuesday, May 20, 2008

University of Minnesota Enters 2008 North American Solar Challenge

I know there are a lot of schools competing in this race, but you gotta have pride for the hometown team!

The 2008 North American Solar Challenge is a 2,400 mile race from Dallas to Calgary, held in July. There are 26 international teams competing to design, build, and drive the fastest solar-powered car. Here are some of the race specs, according to Wikipedia:
  • Race consists of a series of timed stages between predetermined locations; all teams begin and end each race day in the same location
  • The team with the lowest overall elapsed time wins
  • The total area of all solar cells and related reflectors, etc. must not exceed 6 square meters
  • When the vehicle has stopped, the solar array may be reoriented toward the sun for charging batteries
  • Strict specifications and engineering scrutiny process is provided for vehicle configuration, safety requirements, and other standards.
The University of Minnesota's car is called Centaurus - it's three feet tall, 16 feet long, about six feet wide, and weighs just over 400 pounds. Students have spent about 30,000 hours building this thing. The University took 2nd place in 2005, the last time the race was held. Here's a video of their 2008 car:

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