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June 10th, 2010

Universities worldwide gearing up for North American Solar Challenge

Published on June 10th, 2010 | By: pwray@ceramics.org
Iowa State University's solar-powered vehicle, Fusion, on the first leg of the 2005 North American Solar Challenge. (Credit: Stefano Paltera/North American Solar Challenge.)

Iowa State University's solar-powered vehicle during the 2005 North American Solar Challenge. (Credit: Stefano Paltera/North American Solar Challenge.)

Teams from 16 universities are about to embark on an 1,200-mile solar car race through the Midwest.

The North American Solar Challenge starts June 20 in Broken Arrow, Okla., and ends June 26 in Naperville, Ill. Teams will be required to stop for the night in Topeka, Kan., on June 21, and in Rolla, Mo., on June 23. Otherwise, the cars go as far as they can until the racing day is over at 6 p.m.

Other cities along the route include Neosho, Mo.; Jefferson City, Mo.; Alton, Ill.; and Normal, Ill.

Universities from across the globe are participating in the 2010 race. They include:

  • Bochum University of Applied Sciences, Germany
  • Illinois State University
  • Iowa State University
  • Missouri University of Science & Technology
  • National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences, Taiwan
  • Northwestern University
  • Oregon State University
  • Stanford University
  • State University of New York at New Paltz
  • University of Calgary, Canada
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • Western Michigan University

Energy from the sun is used to power the cars’ batteries. In order to reach highway speeds, a solar car needs about as much energy as it takes to blow dry your hair in the morning.

The 2008 American Solar Challenge took place along a route from Dallas, Texas to Calgary, Alberta. The University of Michigan’s Continuum won the race with a total elapsed time of 51 hours, 41 minutes, and 53 seconds. No race took place in 2009, and this year the event has been renamed the North American Solar Challenge.

This video shows Northwestern University’s solar car that raced in the 2008  American Solar Challenge.

[flash http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZD-P3A1Ia4 preview=force]

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