The forecast calls for sunny weather this week in Austin, Texas, which is good news for 11 Georgia Tech students whose solar-powered car – the Endeavour – makes its racing debut there this Thursday at the Formula Sun Grand Prix.
The annual competition pits student-built cars from 12 North American universities against one another to test their handling of curves, braking and acceleration, all powered by the sun. The winner is determined by the total number of laps completed during three days of racing.
The Georgia Tech Solar Jackets, a student organization, has successfully converted a 2001 Audi TT from a gas-powered sports car to a solar-assisted electric vehicle (SAEV) - the first of its kind.
According to Solar Jackets member Corbin Klett, the car runs on a combination of batteries and solar power. Light-weight solar cells coat the car's roof and hood. The solar ray provides 12 volts of power to support the power windows, the radio, the brakes, the power steering, and all lights. "Right now, electric cars don't use solar cell batteries to do this," said Klett.
Each day, many students cross the Fifth Street Bridge not thinking much of the downtown connector that exhales exhaust below; but a few are working to electrify the cars that pass beneath.
In a competition
hosted by the City of Atlanta and Emory University’s Goizueta Business School,
a team of Georgia Tech students earned first prize and a monetary award for
proposing a system for electric vehicle adoption in Atlanta.