University of Minnesota solar car team to unveil new car Aug. 18

What: University of Minnesota solar car unveiling
When: 11 a.m.-Noon, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015
Where: Solar Vehicle Project team shop, University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus, 1995 Fitch Ave., St. Paul; parking available in the Gortner Avenue Ramp, 1395 Gortner Ave., St. Paul.
Media Note: This will be the last chance for media to get photos and video of the car before it is shipped later this month to Australia for the World Solar Challenge.

The University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project team will give the public a first look at its newest solar-electric hybrid car at a special event for the media, sponsors and supporters.

Those attending will be among the first to see the new car and view its inner workings, tour the Solar Vehicle Project team’s shop and hear from members of the team about the upcoming competition.

This is the first public viewing of the car in preparation for the 2015 World Solar Challenge, a 3,000-kilometer (1,864-mile) race across the Australian Outback starting in Darwin and heading south to Adelaide. The race runs from Oct. 18-25, 2015.

The University of Minnesota will compete in the Cruiser Class where solar cars are designed for practicality and marketability as well as speed. Cars are required to hold at least one passenger. The U of M team’s car will include a few comfort features seen in regular cars, such as doors and padded car seats for the driver and one passenger.

“We chose the Cruiser Class because we thought the design and build challenge was closer to what car designers face in the real world, “ said team leader and electrical engineering senior Stephanie Wilson, one of the first female team leaders in more than a decade.

About 25 University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering students are part of the current team and 17 will be part of the race crew in Australia. Team members estimate that they’ve collectively spent more than 50,000 hours over the last two years planning and building the solar car.

The University of Minnesota is among 12 teams from around the world and the only U.S. team competing in the Cruiser Class. About 46 teams are competing in all classes of the World Solar Challenge. The University of Minnesota solar car team has a history of success. The team finished second in the 2014 American Solar Challenge and fourth in the 2013 World Solar Challenge.

In addition to significant support from the University’s College of Science and Engineering and several academic departments, materials for the U of M’s solar car were funded through cash and in-kind donations of parts and materials from more than 50 local and national companies. Major sponsors include 3M, Delta Airlines, Stratasys, PTC, Cirrus Aircraft, Segger, PaR Systems, Infolytica Corporation, IAR Systems, Cutsforth Inc., Ansys and Altium.

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