It was designed and constructed by students at the University of Calgary.
The folks at Ars Technica recently caught up with the University of Calgary Solar Car Team for an installment of their appropriately named Cars Technica video series, giving us a great chance to get to know a very cool solar car.
Created for the 2013 World Solar Challenge, a major solar car race, the Schulich Delta is powered by a roof made of solar panels, which in turn charge up a very large lithium-ion battery.
The car’s solar panels are 23.9 percent efficient, capturing nearly twice the light of commercially available panels for the roofs of homes. Specially created squares on top of the vehicle’s solar panels allow the car to draw even more power from the sun: They’re arranged so that light reflected from many different and changing angles will be directed to the photovoltaic cells below. That way, the car can even drive on the building-shadowed streets of Manhattan, on a particularly cloudy day.
The Schulich Delta is a racing car, but it’s not yet ready to compete in the big leagues—its top speed is 65 miles per hour. But when the Calgary students took it for a drive in Manhattan, the car didn’t have much trouble reaching New York traffic-level speeds (though it did have the help of red-flag-toting men, for safety reasons). As Ars Technica’s Jonathan M. Gitlin notes, the solar car is optimized for speed and not cruddy city roads, so the ride got a little more uncomfortable when the vehicle encountered potholes.
The University of Calgary Solar Car Team was established in 2004, and is run by an all-student group of engineers and entrepreneurs.
Major carmaker Ford has introduced a concept model for a solar car, which runs completely independent of traditional energy sources like oil and gas.
(Cover image via Facebook)