Getting Ready for the Summer Solar Vehicle Race

Published in MIT News on June 6, 2014, by Denis Paiste, Materials Processing Center

MIT Solar TeamMIT’s Solar Electric Vehicle Team will be headed to Austin, Texas, in mid-July for the American Solar Challenge with their latest incarnation, “Valkyrie.”

“It’s a race car, so there is only enough room for one person to sit in it to drive,” says freshman Michelle Chao of Houston, Texas, who will be one of the drivers on the road trip from Austin to St. Paul, Minn.

“There is a lead car that makes sure we are going the correct route and there is a chase car behind,” Chao says. “We also have a truck and trailer.” The rest of the team members are available for pit stops and maintenance.

The solar team is supported by the Edgerton Center at MIT and this year the Materials Processing Center is contributing $3,000 to the effort. 

The team unveiled Valkyrie, a three-wheeled vehicle featuring an aluminum-carbon-fiber composite chassis, after Commencement on Friday, June 6.

“This year we’re trying a new design where it’s a monocoque, so instead of having a steel chassis, we have carbon fiber for the chassis,” Chao says.

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