Canadian Consulting Engineer

Solar Energy: Race in the sun

A solar car designed and built by engineering students from Queen's University finished second in the Sunrayce 99 competition in Orlando, Florida in June. The car competed against 28 other solar cars ...

August 1, 1999  Canadian Consulting Engineer

A solar car designed and built by engineering students from Queen’s University finished second in the Sunrayce 99 competition in Orlando, Florida in June. The car competed against 28 other solar cars from engineering schools across North America.

The race was 2,300 kilometres long, starting from Washington, D.C. and ending in Orlando 10 days later. Only 48 minutes behind the winning car from the University of Missouri-Rolla, the Queen’s car finished the journey in 57 hours and 4 minutes, and travelled an average 24.95 m.p.h. Powered completely by the sun, the car has to be as lightweight as possible. It has a honeycomb composite carbon fibre chassis and body, and an aluminum-ceramic suspension system.

Steve Harrison of Queen’s mechanical engineering department led the team, which included civil, mechanical and electrical engineering students. The University of Alberta, University of Toronto, University of Montreal, and the University of Waterloo also entered. The first Sunrayce in North America was held nine years ago and since then over 6,000 students have taken part.

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