Solar Electric Vehicle Team's "Arcturus" Completes the World Solar Challenge

Camilla Brinkman, Communications Administrator, Edgerton Center

Laboring for countless hours on the lower body layup, sleeping under the stars in Australia, seeing one’s brake mounts in action for the first time.

These and countless others go down as favorite memories for members of the Solar Electric Vehicle Team, who raced their vehicle Arcturus in the 2015 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (WSC).

Solar Electric Vehicle Team car ArcturusHeld every other year, the WSC challenges students to design and build an efficient electric vehicle that can travel 3,000 km across the Australian continent – from Darwin to Adelaide – powered by sunlight. The 8-day challenge “seeks to inspire some of the brightest young people on the planet to address the imperatives of sustainable transport,” according to the WSC website.

Competing in the Challenger class in which vehicles can average over 90kph – and against teams with twice as many members – Arcturus performed well for the initial stage of the race. On the second day, however, a short in the electrical system burned out some of the electronics and the team lost two valuable hours of driving time.

In the latter part of the challenge, intermittent connectivity issues between the battery management system (BMS) (which ensures the batteries are safe) and the rest of the car caused the car to turn itself off. The team then had to wait until the BMS gave the green light to continue driving. Ultimately the team made it to the finish line in Adelaide for the celebration and placed 23rd in a field of 29 vehicles...

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