Solar Car team places in international competition

By Peter Erhard, Missouri S&T Press Release

Photo submitted by Missouri S&T alumnus Bill Brune.

Missouri University of Science and Technology’s Solar Car Team earned fourth place at the Formula Sun Grand Prix 2015, an international student design competition for solar-powered vehicles.

The competition was held July 26-31 at the Circuit of The Americas, a 3.4-mile Formula One racetrack in Austin, Texas. The competition challenged teams to complete as many laps as possible over three days of racing with their student-designed and -built cars. Missouri S&T’s car completed a total of 181 laps and completed the third-fastest lap at the competition, with a time of 4:49.05 minutes.

Teams started the competition with three days of technical and safety inspections, then moved on to the racetrack. Only teams that met all safety requirements were allowed to race on the track.

Missouri S&T’s car, named Solar Miner VIII, raced in Austin during last year’s competition as well, but this year’s car features a redesigned power system that is 40 percent more powerful than the car’s 2014 technology. An upgraded telemetry system transmitted the car’s real-time energy consumption and performance data to the team to get the maximum performance from the sun’s power.

Dr. Mehdi Ferdowsi, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Missouri S&T, John Tyler, a research engineer in the Rock Mechanics and Explosives Research Center at Missouri S&T, and Letha Young, a lieutenant in the Missouri S&T police department, are the team’s advisors. John Schoeberle, a senior in mechanical engineering from Edwardsville, Illinois, is the team leader. For more information about the competition, visit americansolarchallenge.org.