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World Solar Challenge Started in Australian Desert

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the go-sun-go dept.

Power 113

photonic writes "The World Solar Challenge has just finished the first racing day. It is a 3000 kilometer race from Darwin to Adelaide for cars that are powered by solar energy only. The results from this day have not yet been published, but intermediate results suggest that the Dutch Nuon Solar Team is again on the lead. This team from Delft University of Technology has a reputation to uphold since they also won the previous two races in 2001 and 2003, the last one in a record breaking 97 km/h average. The Tesseract team from MIT was less fortunate: during the qualification they got off track and rolled over. After some fixing up they still managed to qualify into 7th place on battery power, but with substantial damage to the solar panel their challenge will be finishing rather than winning."

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Solar (-1, Offtopic)

Cowclops (630818) | about 9 years ago | (#13645019)

I want a solar powered light bulb.

Re:Solar (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13645049)

your mom wants a solar powered vibrator!

Re:Solar (1, Offtopic)

hazee (728152) | about 9 years ago | (#13645098)

I want a solar powered light bulb.

So go buy one then, what's stopping you?
There's a fair selection at the B&Q store in Britain, here [diy.com]

Oblic. (1)

HG Slashdot (895363) | about 9 years ago | (#13645170)

I know I am going to be modded down for this... He will never get away with it with out getting flamed by the anti-solar slashdot comunity... from romours I hear they are slightly more animal like that the anti-microsoft slashdot comunity

Re:Solar (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 9 years ago | (#13645316)

Screw that ... I want a solar-powered nightlight.

they tried that (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 9 years ago | (#13646256)

They failed. Hopefully next time they'll think about
adding a rechargeable battery to the design so the thing doesn't only work in bright sunlight.

They exist. (2, Insightful)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 9 years ago | (#13645434)

You can get solar-powered lights, genius. You get a solar cell, hook it up to a supercapacitor or a rechargable battery, and hook that up to an LED. Control the whole thing with a switch or a phototransistor and you've got a solar-powered light.

I guess you haven't heard about Carmanah Technologies (who make solar-powered lights for bus stops, navigation bouys, etc.) or Engineers without Borders (who provide solar-powered lights for kids in impovershed countries so they can read at night).

Or were you trying to be funny? Old carrot-top routines from 20 years ago just don't cut it once technology improves.

Re:They exist. (1)

user1003 (816685) | about 9 years ago | (#13646351)

Control the whole thing with a switch or a phototransistor and you've got a solar-powered light.

You don't even need a phototransistor. I once took one of these things apart and I kept searching for that ominous phototransistor until I noticed that detection of daylight might possibly have been done with that big thing on top of the light - the solar cell.

Light up the World Foundation (1)

Erioll (229536) | about 9 years ago | (#13647158)

Engineers without Borders (who provide solar-powered lights for kids in impovershed countries so they can read at night)

You're actually thinking about the Light up the World Foundation [lightuptheworld.org] run by Dr. Dave Irvine-Halliday from the University of Calgary. I wouldn't be suprised if Engineers without Borders is involved, but the foundation you're thinking of is LutW.

solar energy only? (5, Insightful)

n01 (693310) | about 9 years ago | (#13645082)

What does "for cars that are powered by solar energy only" mean. Do the batteries need to be empty at the start of the trip? Or as full as they were at the start when the cars reach the finish?

Otherwise I wouldn't count it as "solar energy only", even though they might have charged the accumulators beforehand through the solar panels.

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this message has been generated automatically

Re:solar energy only? (1)

masklinn (823351) | about 9 years ago | (#13645107)

Right, because the few kilograms (at most) of batteries they carry are going to be worth shit on a 3000km trip...

Re:solar energy only? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13645185)

no sails, no human pedal power.

Re:solar energy only? (5, Informative)

pilardi (187433) | about 9 years ago | (#13645197)

They may start with batteries charged with 5kWh of stored energy

http://www.wsc.org.au/2005/competition/vehicle.cla sses/solar/ [wsc.org.au]

which is 1/6th of a gallon of gas (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | about 9 years ago | (#13645530)

In equivalent energy.

Thats a US gallon, and I guess that would mean it's about 2/3rds of a liter equivalent.

Re:solar energy only? (1)

Russ Moerland (51262) | about 9 years ago | (#13646447)

Actually, in the technical regulations of the race, section B paragraph 2, battery capacity is specified as an allowable mass for a given chemistry.

for instance:
Pb Acid is allowed 125kg (assumed 40Wh/kg)
Ag/Zn is allowed 40kg (assumed 125Wh/kg)
Li-ion is allowed 35kg (140Wh/kg)

It doesn't take too much searching to find batteries that exceed those energy densities. Particularly if you overcharge your chemistry you could be looking at 5.2 to 5.3kWh which is nice little cushion to burn in the sprint from Darwin to Katherine.

Re:solar energy only? (1)

AtomicBomb (173897) | about 9 years ago | (#13647015)

Another question: how do they stop the participants from trying to take advantage of wind, ie turn a solar car competition, to sail car competition?

Re:solar energy only? (1)

Russ Moerland (51262) | about 9 years ago | (#13647429)

Over the years the organizers have looked upon sailing fairly kindly so long as the car met the dimensional requirements. Team New England/Santa Cruz's Pumpkinseed and one of the early Solar Motions cars also had sails. Rumor was that they were able to see a difference in performance but it wasn't enough to overcome other shortcomings in the vehicle. The TNE/SC and Solar Motions cars had, I think, active control of the angle of attack of their sails. Most well designed solar cars passivly sail in a cross wind, and this effect can contribute significant reductions in overall aerodynamic drag.

However, sailing can also induce a lot of sideforce on the tires and increases the rolling resistance and shortens tire life.

An excellent book on solar car aerodynamics is The Leading Edge by Goro Tamai.

Re:solar energy only? (1)

markass530 (870112) | about 9 years ago | (#13645339)

I believe they are solar power ONLY. This means no batteries. Obviously they can only go during daylight hours if this is the case. Pictures I have seen of these types of cars do not look like they have batteries of any type, They are all about aerodynamic efficiency.

Re:solar energy only? (1)

k8to (9046) | about 9 years ago | (#13645367)

Yes of course, once you transfer the solar energy into the batteries it becomes _electrical_ energy. So it's not allowed. And of course the motor changes it into /kinetic/ energy?

Just who are they trying to fool, cheating with kinetic energy?

Those wacky australians... (5, Funny)

baryon351 (626717) | about 9 years ago | (#13645093)

> during the qualification they got off track and rolled over [wsc.org.au] .

Upside down country did it, the solar car was merely trying to right itself.

Another oddity, that khaki colour car there looks like a 4 door GTO 'coupe'

Strange

4 door GTO 'coupe' (4, Informative)

ACDChook (665413) | about 9 years ago | (#13645187)

Of course it does - it's a Holden Commodore, an Australian icon (not really a fan myself, they're pretty poo cars). The 2-door coupe based off the Commodore is the Monaro, which is exported to the US as the GTO Coupe.

Re:4 door GTO 'coupe' (1)

huiac (912723) | about 9 years ago | (#13646919)

While the Comnmodore is ubiquitous, it's the original Monaro that is the true icon. They were made in the 1970's and were every young Australian male's wet dream, but faded from view as petrol prices rose and people became more concerned with economy; the originals are highly collectible, and Holden re-invented the Monaro recently and they've become quite popular (but nothing like they were).

The Commodore line appeared about the same time as the Monaro faded from view and, while thoroughly ubiquitous (no bad thing, when 70% of our land area would be more than 3 hours' drive from a well-stocked dealership), is an Australian icon only in the same sense that, say, the cockroach is a Texan icon.

John.

Re:4 door GTO 'coupe' (1)

HaggiZ (68526) | about 9 years ago | (#13647699)

I'm pretty sure the "Australian Icon" has been an almost direct rip of the German Opel for many years now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holden_Commodore [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opel_Omega [wikipedia.org]

Re:4 door GTO 'coupe' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13647792)

The Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon combined form close to 40% of all new cars sold in Australia. Both cars are unique to Australia except for when they are exported from Australia usually to other countries in SE Asia as well as New Zealand and other pacific islands, also rebadged Commodores are sold in Africa, the Middle East and Brazil. So in that sense they are Aussie icons.

The Falcon I believe has been based entirely on Australian designs since the brand collapsed in America and Canada, while the Commodore uses modified Opel designs if you RTFA on it you would notice that the situation appears to have been reversed - "A VE Commodore is expected on a new platform for 2006 and may form the basis of a large sedan in the Opel range in Europe. The VE's underpinnings have already been previewed in the Opel Insignia show car of 2003."

As for the Monaro it is an Australian design but uses various stock parts as any self respecting car company that is part of the GM Empire would :p. The GTO is simply a rebadged Monaro with a deeper front grill (or should I say ruined front grill ;). The way GM are working it I believe is that the GTO will be exported to Left hand drive markets while the Monaro will be exported to right hand drive markets.

Re:Those wacky australians... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 years ago | (#13645223)

Another oddity, that khaki colour car there looks like a 4 door GTO 'coupe'
Well, it is a Holden, but it's not a Monaro (aka GTO).

Re:Those wacky australians... (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 9 years ago | (#13647833)

> during the qualification they got off track and rolled over.

Upside down country did it, the solar car was merely trying to right itself.


I like this comment from the Sungroper blog http://www.wsc.org.au/2005/competition/our.teams/L eeming.Sungroper/Sept.25 [wsc.org.au] ;

MIT give us our soldering iron back. They've put tape over dead cells on their array, with little messages like "You should see the other guy's car!", and "Our driver is from Harvard."

Day 1 results (4, Informative)

Thijs van As (826224) | about 9 years ago | (#13645108)

From the Dutch Nuna website:
The Nuna 3 won day 1, finishing half an hour before the Michigan team (which got a flat tire halfway).

Imperial units (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13645111)

3000 kilometers = 12648.3018 btus per pound force
97 km/h = 8.03640075 furlongs per minute

Re:Imperial units (3, Funny)

mroch (715318) | about 9 years ago | (#13645228)

97 km/h = 162,013.839 furlongs per fortnight

Re:Imperial units (1)

HermanAB (661181) | about 9 years ago | (#13646111)

Yes, but how fast is that in Libraries of Congres per Small Car?

I really respect these guys (5, Insightful)

DoubleRing (908390) | about 9 years ago | (#13645122)

It takes a lot of work to build one of these cars. Plus, using them is a lot of work. Think of it this way: you're out in blazing sunlight, no fans or ac (would be using too much extra power, which you can't afford). You start as soon as your car will start (a few minutes after the crack of dawn) and keep going until your car's battery runs down. You don't stop at a hotel because, most probably, there isn't one where you stop. These guys are really building the future. And I respect that.

On another note, does anyone know of a similar competition using hydrogen feul?

Re:I really respect these guys (1)

bbrack (842686) | about 9 years ago | (#13645236)

FYI, there is an incredible amount of strategy that goes into racing these cars - (and they don't actually run until the batteries are dead) - the chase van has teams monitoring weather forecasts, road conditions, etc that are constantly deciding what the best speed to try to maintain is (IIRC, all the cars are capable of ~90mph, but average speeds are ~60mph)




Re:I really respect these guys (1)

DoubleRing (908390) | about 9 years ago | (#13645279)

yes, I know. I was actually refering to another challange (I don't remember what it's called), where independent inventors are to make a car, and drive it across the US (latitude, not longitude) They don't have any extra teams. It's usually a one man job.

Re:I really respect these guys (1)

pete-classic (75983) | about 9 years ago | (#13645242)

These guys are really building the future.


Absolute best case the sun delivers about 1.2 kW/m^2 to the surface of the Earth. That's about 1.6 horsepower. Unless the Earth gets much closer to the sun that will simply never be enough power to propel a practical vehicle.

That's not to take anything away from these engineers. To the contrary, it shows how little they have to work with. But solar cars are simply and provably not the future.

Re:I really respect these guys (2, Interesting)

Itchy Rich (818896) | about 9 years ago | (#13645309)

That's not to take anything away from these engineers. To the contrary, it shows how little they have to work with. But solar cars are simply and provably not the future.

You're right in that this particular application probably wouldn't find commercial success, but that doesn't mean the technology and engineering techniques these people develop wont be of use in other areas. Technology has a fascinating habit of jumping application boundaries.

Re:I really respect these guys (3, Insightful)

MindStalker (22827) | about 9 years ago | (#13645741)

Yes, but as well the average person drives their car at most 2 hours a day. The sun up 8-16 hours a day. Assuming 12 hours a day of sun that gives you 1 hour of 19.2 (using your 1.6 estimate) horsepower. Still nothing huge, but combine this with a hybrid system its simply one more thing to add to the equasion. Of course a pluggable hybrid that connects to a large scale solar would make more sense. I assume this technology is more about how to get the most miles for the least horsepower, as well as improved solar conversion.

Re:I really respect these guys (1)

pete-classic (75983) | about 9 years ago | (#13646099)

You're being way to optimistic. You can only approach that 1.2kW number at noon. And you can only capture about 15% of that with contemporary PV cells.

Rerunning your calculation shows that you gain just under 3hp (we're conflating power and energy, but it doesn't much matter). But that's still assuming we're getting full sun from sunrise to sunset.

I'm all for clean energy, but we won't obtain it through self-delusion.

-Peter

Re:I really respect these guys (1)

photonic (584757) | about 9 years ago | (#13646430)

I agree that 12 hour is too optimistic. Pulling some numbers out of the air (e.g. here [solarbuzz.com] ) gives not much more than 2 to 6 hours of sun per day effectively, averaged over the whole year and depending on the climate. This probably includes the fact that a fixed panel will only have perpendicular illumination at noon and recieves under an angle the rest of the day. You forgot to multiply with the number of square meters and a normal size garage would easily fit 10 m^2.

Best case is thus 6 hour * 1.2 kW/m^2 * 10 m^2 * 0.15 efficiency = 11 kWh per day. If you would consume this energy in one hour yould thus can run your car with 11kW, or 15 horsepower.

Re:I really respect these guys (1)

pete-classic (75983) | about 9 years ago | (#13646544)

But we need the roof of the garage to power the house. We have to park the car outside to soak up rays, and that'll give you, what, 3m^2?

-Peter

Been done... solar Prius Classic (1)

skids (119237) | about 9 years ago | (#13646362)

...here:

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2005/08/solarpower augme.html [greencarcongress.com] ...and that's with the heavy old-style silicone cells and a bodged-together power convertor system made from off-the-shelf parts. Imagine flexible CIGS cells printed onto the roof/hood/trunk.

Combine the above with thermoelectric convertors for exhaust heat recovery and you could be talking 200mpg for average driving patterns. All that stands in the way is current component costs.

Re:I really respect these guys (4, Funny)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 9 years ago | (#13645280)

you're out in blazing sunlight, no fans or ac (would be using too much extra power, which you can't afford). You start as soon as your car will start (a few minutes after the crack of dawn) and keep going until your car's battery runs down. You don't stop at a hotel because, most probably, there isn't one where you stop. These guys are really building the future.
If that is the future, I'll stick with my SUV, thank you.

Re:I really respect these guys (2, Insightful)

DoubleRing (908390) | about 9 years ago | (#13645299)

Remember that this technology is still pretty new. It'll get better eventually (most probably in hybrid form with maybe hydrogen).

Re:I really respect these guys (2, Interesting)

chivo243 (808298) | about 9 years ago | (#13645398)

Free of the SUV? Fat Chance....

Re:I really respect these guys (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about 9 years ago | (#13646798)

If that is the future, I'll stick with my SUV, thank you.


Given that the future entails the inevitable burning of the last gallon of gas, that should be pretty easy to do. Your SUV won't be going anywhere...

building the future? - Enery conservation (1)

CDR-80 (587551) | about 9 years ago | (#13646011)

Although in terms of technology it is indeed a nice contest, I don't see how transporting a solar car, two normal cars and a van to Australia from the Netherlands (or any other country), and then driving these for the same 3000 miles, does anything to contribute to the real reason for having have solar powered cars, namely conserve enery....

Re:I really respect these guys (1)

gone_bush (578354) | about 9 years ago | (#13647674)

While they can start whenever they want, by the rules they "must make camp by 5pm each evening". http://www.wsc.org.au/2005/competition/ [wsc.org.au]

And, yes, there's a whole lot of sfa between Darwin and Port Augusta (the southern end of the Stuart Highway) - I've driven it many times.

My 2 cents (1)

iamnerd (917614) | about 9 years ago | (#13645128)

While I normally don't like racing, I am all for solar powered racing. With all the racers competing against each other they find out how to make solar powered cars more efficient, possibly getting them into consumers hands faster. However, I doubt there will be many people who want them until they can get them to go faster than 60mph with a good battery life.

Re:My 2 cents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13646300)

The max speed of the Nuna III car on day 1 was about 140 km/h (about 87 miles/h for the SI challenged).
The average speed of Nuna II the 2003 race was 97 km/h (about 60 miles/h).
Should be enough.

Mass production is the real challenge (1, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | about 9 years ago | (#13645183)

As much as I love these contests, I'm not sure they provide much beyond marketing. The skills and technologies needed to create a hand-built, one-off, contest-winner are totally different from those needed to create a factory that makes millions of mass-produced, affordable, everyday vehicles. Its not that hard to make "a" solar-powered car where student labor is free and the solar vehicle runs with a caravan of gas-powered support vehicles. But the real key is to create the manufacturing infrastructure to make millions of them at an affordable price. Other problems, such as a shortage of polysilicon and increasing solar cell prices [zdnet.com] highlight this problem of mass production and have a much bigger effect on the adoption of solar power.

I hope these contests continue, but I also hope people don't think that these contests are solving the real-world problems of applying solar power.

Re:Mass production is the real challenge (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 9 years ago | (#13645233)

I dunno ... any time you have people pushing a technological envelope something useful usually comes out of it. Sometimes in unexpected ways.

But which technological envelope needs the push? (1)

G4from128k (686170) | about 9 years ago | (#13645520)

I dunno ... any time you have people pushing a technological envelope something useful usually comes out of it. Sometimes in unexpected ways.

I agree 100%. The question is: which technological envelopes need to be pushed to get solar power commercialized? Is it the base technology of the vehicle or is it the design-for-manufacturing issues and manufacturing system that need the most development now? I'd wager that engineers have a very good understanding of the properties of solar power, power electronics, aerodynamics, motive systems, braking systems, battery systems, etc. Sure, they need to create an integrated design and test it, but a good engineer team should be able to create a competent vehicle.

What we really don't understand is how to make these vehicles practical -- affordable and usable in everyday driving. Perhaps the contest could be modified to push the envelope toward these goals. Perhaps the rules should require: a) all contest vehicles carry two people and 50 pounds of cargo; b) all contest vehicles be climate controlled to XX degrees; c) all support vehicles must be solar powered and adhere to these rules, too. This forces teams to make cheaper, more practical, more useful vehicle designs that must be replicatable (to create the support team fleet). And if these rules are infeasible, I'd suggest that solar powered vehicles are infeasible.

Re:But which technological envelope needs the push (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 9 years ago | (#13645731)

Well, let's face it: true solar-powered vehicles are unlikely ever to be commercialized. Solar power (on Earth) is simply not sufficiently energy-dense to provide anything like driving in a conventional vehicle, which can easily generate 100 kilowatts (say, a 130 HP engine at 746 watts per horsepower). I mean, at roughly 1.44 kilowatts/square meter (at 100% conversion efficiency of ALL wavelengths on a bright day) solar really doesn't give you much power to work with, which is why these solar vehicles are such slaves to weight. They have to use the lightest, most powerful batteries and the most efficient controllers available, and the lightest materials, and pay special attention to wind resistance just to have a chance. And forget niceties such as air conditioning, halogen headlights and so forth.

I'd say that investing in better, cheaper batteries would be the best bet. The spinoffs there would be tremendous, even for non-vehicular applications (or maybe especially for those.) Motor and controller technology is really getting pretty good (rare-earth PM DC motors and PWM controllers are very efficient.) Aerodynamic design is also a mature subject, so it seems to me that the one area where major research would be beneficial is in energy storage.

If a country's electrical infrastructure could handle the load (and the United States' couldn't even begin to handle widespread use of pure electric vehicles) I'd say that investing in large-scale solar farms feeding a transport power grid would make the most sense. But, that would require battery technology far beyond anything we have now. And frankly, I'm not sure I'd want to be riding around with a battery pack carrying the energy equivalent of twenty-odd gallons of gasoline. God help you if it ever gets short-circuited.

Just as an aside, I have down here in my basement a Hawker Energy 6FV11 12-volt 105 AH gas-recombinant sealed lead-acid battery (I bought it new on E-Bay and it runs my sump pump during power failures.) The thing weighs over a hundred pounds, yet stores a mere kilowatt hour. That's all, and it's one of the best lead-acid batteries available. Granted there are many substantially more capable battery systems out there, but none of them can match gasoline for energy density. Now, admittedly an electric drive train would waste a lot less power that a gasoline engine and conventional transmission. So that buys you something, but electric vehicles (whether powered by the sun or charged from an outlet) need some serious batteries. And, to be commercially viable they should last the life of the car (just like a gas tank) and shouldn't cost an arm-and-a-leg, like anything better than that Hawker will.

Re:But which technological envelope needs the push (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13645957)

I'd say that investing in better, cheaper batteries would be the best bet.

And it is being done extensively.

God help you if it ever gets short-circuited.

I think a fuse would be cheaper than a God. :-)

Granted there are many substantially more capable battery systems out there, but none of them can match gasoline for energy density.

They don't need to if you go for a plug-hybrid. Also, the fuel tank is not a significant part of either the weight or size of a modern car. Remember, we are building cars here, not SSTO rockets. Even a doubling in the mass and size of the energy storage system will not make the car much harder to sell.

And, to be commercially viable they should last the life of the car (just like a gas tank) and shouldn't cost an arm-and-a-leg, like anything better than that Hawker will.

The life-time is a problem currently targeted by research. The tech is improving, but it's not there yet for real deep-cycle operation. (Note that hybrids generally are far from deep-cycle.) As far as cost... advanced stuff is expensive for you and me, but a carmaker expecting to sell hundreds of thousands of units can usually get a MUCH better price. The raw materials aren't AFAIK that expensive, the price is mainly assembly cost.

(Not that I belive in commercial solar cars either... possibly commercial cars with solar AC if anything. That would be neat.)

Re:Mass production is the real challenge (1)

bvdbos (724595) | about 9 years ago | (#13645239)

Of course these races won't do the trick, but the research which is being done for these cars will help understanding solar power better and it will certainly have a lot of spinn-off into the real world. That's the purpose of a lot of fundamental research and also the purpose of for instance the martian-landers (unless you're really planning on living on mars when we fucked up earth too much)

It's not about producing solar cars for the masses (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | about 9 years ago | (#13645414)

Solarr cars will never be a practical rewality for the masses - see another post which deals with this. However contest such as this are
  • fun
  • providers of the drivers for technological innovation
  • fun
If all science was driving towards the market place then we'd never have reached the moon (and hence never had teflon!)

Re:Mass production is the real challenge (1)

RacerZero (848545) | about 9 years ago | (#13645425)

It's like Formula 1. There are limited but real technologies that trickle down from these kinds of things plus it's entertaining. But I do wonder what are the actual engineering advancements that are coming out of these things? These teams don't seem to be developing new solar cell technologies, maybe we are getting low friction high efficiency electric motors? I guess at the least we are getting some engineers out of it.

Re:Mass production is the real challenge (2, Interesting)

FinalMidnight (652617) | about 9 years ago | (#13645522)

Sir, respectfully, you are talking through your hat. This specific solar car race has inspired the development of a 98% efficiency electrical drive system. The skills to build electrical drives of this type at any size, for any application were gained by building one-of-a-kind prototype solar cars. This motor is now a standard COTS product that is used by just about all solar car teams. In the future production lines will be producing tens of thousands of motors based on this very design. That will very much make the world a better place. Unfortunately, all the real development has already been done. Now, using standard parts, bought off the shelf, a car can be built that travels at the posted speed limits and still charge the battery. The method for building a successful solar car has been reduced to a formula: Use THESE solar cells, THAT motor/controller package and have a body shaped like THIS, for slippery aerodynamics. Even so, many teams manage to produce poor efforts. For example: Aerodynamic crosswind loading is responsible for many accidents. The Fuji Xerox Desert Rose, which is now more than six years old, could (if it were running) compete favorably with the field of todays cars. This is a car that was built six years ago for less than $40K using second hand, hand-me-down solar cells from another university team. The Current teams are running cells that generate about three times the power. The Solar Car race is now merely a quaint anachronism. The rules body actively moves to stifle any true innovation, much like Formula 1 racing etc.

Re:Mass production is the real challenge (2, Informative)

1tsm3 (754925) | about 9 years ago | (#13645568)

I have been in 2 of these races and your claim about using hand-me-down solar cells is very questionable. All the teams that I know of (including mine), glue the solar cells to the body with some kind of "super glue" (epoxy, etc). And it is very difficult to remove the cells without damaging them. Do you know what you are talking about?

    I agree that the way to build a winning car is pretty much predetermined now.

Re:Mass production is the real challenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13646392)

They actually use rejected cells, they get more then 60% discount for 12% drop in efficiency iirc (Info from the Delft team, I was on one of their show days, the uni is only a few minutes away)

Re:Mass production is the real challenge (1)

G4from128k (686170) | about 9 years ago | (#13646595)

Sir, respectfully, you are talking through your hat. This specific solar car race has inspired the development of a 98% efficiency electrical drive system.

True. But I never said that prior races weren't instrumental in developing key technologies and apologize if I gave that impression. My point was that at some point the technological challenge shifts (has shifted) from prototyping the technologies for one-off test vehicles for races to creating the technologies for commercialization/mass-production.

Unfortunately, all the real development has already been done. Now, using standard parts, bought off the shelf, a car can be built that travels at the posted speed limits and still charge the battery. The method for building a successful solar car has been reduced to a formula: Use THESE solar cells, THAT motor/controller package and have a body shaped like THIS, for slippery aerodynamics.

My point, exactly. The component technologies have plateaued and now each team is just replicating prior technologies. The vehicle is largely perfected. Barring poor design choices (e.g., you don't need a test vehicle to know that a vehicle will be dangerous in a crosswind), sloppy craftsmanship, or inept management, all of the recent racers are good vehicles.

The Solar Car race is now merely a quaint anachronism. The rules body actively moves to stifle any true innovation, much like Formula 1 racing etc.

My point, exactly. These races are fun, provide good marketing, but don't solve the real challenge to commercialization.

Re:Mass production is the real challenge (1)

FlopEJoe (784551) | about 9 years ago | (#13646100)

Bah... if they want a challenge they should have it in Buffalo, NY!

Re:Mass production is the real challenge (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 9 years ago | (#13647685)

I hope these contests continue, but I also hope people don't think that these contests are solving the real-world problems of applying solar power.

Well, since some of the "engineers" competing in this are Western Australian school kids, I think the experience they'll be getting bodes very well for solar power. http://www.leeming.wa.edu.au/programs/solarcar/sol arcar.htm [wa.edu.au]

Test driver wanted (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13645251)

http://www.nuonsolarteam.nl/movies/ [nuonsolarteam.nl]
Dutch team is searching for test drivers.

I have some hopes that (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | about 9 years ago | (#13645265)

this type of contest will lead to advantageous developments in both solar energy generation and electrical power usage. Both of these can lead to a greener world. Sounds coy, but if everyone was contributing to the power grid instead of only sucking from it, the reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear energy would decrease. This is better for everyone (I'm NOT anti-nuclear or a global warming nutjob) and the planet as well.

As stupid as it sounds, I think that trying to use cleaner energy will lead us to better use of just about everything. If power were essentially free for all to use, there would be a massive shift of cultural and business boundaries. Anyone can donate farm equipment to poor 3rd world countries, but continuous powering of that equipment is the down side. If you teach them to fish with a huge fishing vessel, you still have to show them how to power it.

I'm not saying that power/energy generation and usage is the crux of the world's problems, but when you look at the list of problems, pick the one that gives you the biggest bang for buck when it is fixed, engergy generation/usage is close or at the top of that list.

So, in respect of the possible outcomes of such racing events, I have high hopes that it will lead the world to better ways of doing things. Hybrid cars are a good start, but the technology is still lagging behind where we really need it to be. Approximately 10-25% of US household budgets will be spent on fuels and energy this winter because of the recent hurricanes, damage, and of course price gouging. If we all had the capability of generating at least some of our own energy, it would be competition to other fuel/energy sources... which hopefully would drop the price as well as reliance on oil companies. This can't be anything other than good.

Perhaps windmills on the roofs are not a safe/good idea, but we need something.

Re:I have some hopes that (1)

mrbill101 (914266) | about 9 years ago | (#13645393)

Good Man!!!!!!!

Re:I have some hopes that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13645395)

Um...fission power?

It's very clean (produces only a small amount of radioactive waste), very powerful (a small nuclear plant can produce as much as a very large solar or wind field), less environmentally disruptive than both oil and solar/wind (did you know wind farms lead to increased wind speed? Of course there's also the whole space thing...), and safe if operated properly. If we built more nuclear plants maybe it would actually be worth it to produce hydrogen fuel cell vehicles too.

Re:I have some hopes that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13645615)

It that is the case, you would be more intrested in this contest:
http://www.eere.energy.gov/solar_decathlon/ [energy.gov]

It is the Solar Decathlon. Teams have to build a small house (400 sq ft or so) that can run on solar power. The house also has to be energy efficant, and be able to do things that are considered normal everyday stuff.

This constest does more to show the public about using solar and being able to sell it back to the grid.

The actual contest starts this week.

Re:I have some hopes that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13645657)

dude, what "global warming nutjob"s? Even *BUSH* admits it.

http://news.ft.com/cms/s/cb0c3b94-ee84-11d9-98e5-0 0000e2511c8.html [ft.com]
http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/news/archives/2005/07/ 04/bush_makes_climate_change_concession.html [guardian.co.uk]
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/afp/20050704/bushcli mate.html [discovery.com]
http://www.truthout.org/issues_05/070705EB.shtml [truthout.org]
http://www.geopoliticalreview.com/archives/001076b ush_admits_global_warming.php [geopoliticalreview.com]
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/07/09/g8_global_ snoring/ [theregister.co.uk]

Although I admit, it's better to say "climate change" because temps drop in some areas and raise in others so the "average" is misleading (even though it's going up), but that's really splitting hairs.

You know I am in Australia, just changed to 100% wind power from my utility, costs me $16 AUD extra per month. People aren't changing because they don't want to change, because they are lazy. It's easier to keep spending money on junk food, cigarettes etc.

What's needed in the short term is:
Quick move to pebble bed nuclear with serious money (actual money, put aside in an account that can't be touched, not empty promises of safety) invested in stable multi-thousand year storage. Change all older cars over to ethanol and biodiesl. Ban/Tax out of existence SUVs for non-farming/ultraremote citizens rather than give them tax breaks like americans do ("light truck" catergory so it isn't classified as a "car") . Solar water heaters. Carbon trading (put a real price on a commons and it will be worth money). Put money geosequestering remaining coal/fossil fuel plant pollution. And oh, I dunno, plant a tree for every one you cut down? Not an unreasonable proposition I think.

Long term projects:
Public Transport, money put into getting wind and solar up to 40% of power provision in a decade and develop ways to manage their flutuating supply. Serious money into hydrogen and battery tech. Control population growth - why should there be infinite population growth on a finite planet? Sure you can increase the population when you terraform mars, but there should be a cap on earth's population, there is nothing morally good about having more people, it just means we all get a thinner slice of the pie. We passed six billion in 1999 we are almost at 6.5 billion in 2005, totally unsustainable rate of growth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population [wikipedia.org]

Re:I have some hopes that (2, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | about 9 years ago | (#13645901)

Control population growth - why should there be infinite population growth on a finite planet? Sure you can increase the population when you terraform mars, but there should be a cap on earth's population, there is nothing morally good about having more people, it just means we all get a thinner slice of the pie. We passed six billion in 1999 we are almost at 6.5 billion in 2005, totally unsustainable rate of growth.

How exactly do you propose controlling the population? Take the Chinese approach and make it so that if you have a second child the family and that second child are economically screwed for the rest of his life due to systematic government discrimination? Mandatory monthly pregnancy testing along with forced abortions? Maybe you advocate mandatory birth control that can only be removed by government mandate. What exactly is it you advocate? Some authoritarian solution inflicted upon the already impoverished and repressed nations of the world?

The best solution is the one that has been proven to be 100% effective. Try and bring the rest of the world up to first world standards. All of Western Europe is currently experiencing population decline so sharp that it is threatening their social welfare programs (too many people using, not enough working). The US currently has negative population growth if you factor our immigration. Japan is in the same boat as Europe. When people are not impoverished and miserable, they stop cranking out kids. Fix poverty and the population will fix its self. As China has proven most effectively, authoritarian population control 'solutions' just leads to infanticide, massive imbalances in the population, greater human misery, corruption as to who is allowed to have children, and simply fail to solve the problem.

Re:I have some hopes that (1)

renoX (11677) | about 9 years ago | (#13646000)

> All of Western Europe is currently experiencing population decline so sharp that it is threatening their social welfare programs (too many people using, not enough working).

Actually, this is also due to life expectancy increase, not only due to population decline: France have an increase of population (small), but its welfare program has problem like anyother place due to life expectancy increase.

As for:
> What exactly is it you advocate? Some authoritarian solution inflicted upon the already impoverished and repressed nations of the world?

A freedom of access to cheap condom, pills and an education program to explain sexuality, protections, etc would be a good start, no need to resort to extreames measure, if those people have the choices to have baby or not many will reduce the number of child they will have but that's not easy to do with those fucking religions.

Re:I have some hopes that (1)

bear_phillips (165929) | about 9 years ago | (#13646939)

How exactly do you propose controlling the population?

Easy, provide better access to birth control and abortions. The current administration is trying to stop abortions and prevent cheap access to birth control. In many health plans, it is easier to get Viagra covered than birth control. By law US funding cannot go to any NGO program that advocates abortion as a form of birth control (but they can fund programs adovcating abstenence). Congress prohibits female soldiers from having an abortion in a military hospital.

There are plenty of ways to easily and cheaping reduce population growth without China style rules.

Re:I have some hopes that (1)

renoX (11677) | about 9 years ago | (#13646077)

>If you teach them to fish with a huge fishing vessel, you still have to show them how to power it.
And to be responsible with the usage of the fishing vessel to avoid destroying too much the ocean ground or to reduce to much the number of fish, which is not infinite either.

But yes, cheap energy in third world would preserve the tree, help with the communications, pump water, etc, and clean energy would preserve the planet, now the only problem is that nobody has a clue on how to have clean energy cheaper than oils.

More Dutch teams participating (4, Informative)

SigmundFreud (656053) | about 9 years ago | (#13645335)

The success of the Dutch team has (finally) caused others to take up the challenge. One is another from the Netherlands, the http://www.solarteamtwente.nl/nieuws.php [solarteamtwente.nl] Solutra team (http://www.utwente.nl/ [utwente.nl] University of Twente). Compared to the Delftian guys, these people are novices, but it's nice to see some real rivalry and competition being initiated. I saw them practice, just a few days before the went to Australia, and asked if they has practiced changing tires (which I think is the important thing in winning the challenge). The answer: no, not yet, do you think that's important?
Remember that it really is a challenge, since temperatures inside the car can get more than 50 degrees Celsius.

Nuclear advocates bound to chime in... (3, Funny)

Adult film producer (866485) | about 9 years ago | (#13645364)

sooner or later, well, wanna have a fight ? Lets googlefight and settle this once and for all

Google Fight - Solar vs Nuclear power! [googlefight.com]

Ohh hell, whatever... you guys can have this one but we'll be back.

new hybrids? (2, Interesting)

lem0n263 (915429) | about 9 years ago | (#13645396)

i for one am for the race... of course it will be a long time like the previous posters said... but hey.... how about a couple solar pannels on cars?? It doesn't have to be fully dependent on solar energy... must like the hybrids of today....once the technology gets better... you get the idea... Like the idea of solar powered shingles for houses to reduce energy costs... just the little things to reduce overall consumption of fossil fuels...especially if you are every hurricane season paying $3.00+ for gas....not to mention the cost for heating in the winter....

A lot further than 300km (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13645408)

Darwin to Adelaide is 3050km.

That is an order of magnitude discrepancy with the summary's quoted 300km.

As an Aussie, I knew that sounded wrong. That route is the entire North-South breadth of the continent!

Re:A lot further than 300km (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13645461)

Try learning how to read. The article summary has and continues to read '3000km'

again (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13645460)

Again, Slashdot's priorities suck ass

Lovely Rita, anyone?

Also.. Slashdot's design update also sucks ass.

How much HP? (1)

JPriest (547211) | about 9 years ago | (#13646193)

I read somewhere that some of hte teams spend ~ 1 million on their cars and they produce less than 1 HP. Is this true? If so, you could probably tear out the solar panels and batteries and replace the electric engine(s) with a cheap gas one that is good for 200 miles per galon and pocket the other $975,000.

Solar trains (2, Interesting)

drwho (4190) | about 9 years ago | (#13646271)

I was reading about this race, and the cars involved, and the comments here on slashdot about "it
s not the future" because the cars are too slow. That may be true.

But what about solar trains? I know that rail systems tend to be designed with as little rolling friction as possible, so that most of the work involved is overcoming intertia. Imagine a train, with solar cells on the roof of each boxcar connected to an electric locomotive on one end or the other. It would start like one of those circus stunts of a guy pulling a rain car with his teeth, i.e. very slowly but the solar cells powering the electric locomotives gradually add some good momentum, and things start moving at a good clip. When night falls, they gradually slow down, and come to a stop for the night.

Imagine that this is continuous, on a homogenous all-solar rail system. Because of the relative uniformity of solar radiation within the medium range, the movement of the various trains on the track will be fairly uniform. Trains should seldom have to brake, and even this braking could be be harnessed, the electric motors used as slow brakes and generators, storing the energy in batteries.

Of course, these trains would be slow. It might take weeks for cargo to get from one end of australia or the US to another. It would also only work where the rail system is pretty flat, unless the aformentioned recovery of inertia can be done with high efficieny and capacity.

It could be useful for commodities that don't have to move fast. Things like ores. Not things like food, which would go bad.

I guess the largest problem with this idea is that it would require a separate rail system, to keep the fast trains from being stuck behind these slow movers. Building such a rail system is expensive.

Re:Solar trains (1)

leoc (4746) | about 9 years ago | (#13646497)

Of course, these trains would be slow. It might take weeks for cargo to get from one end of australia or the US to another. It would also only work where the rail system is pretty flat, unless the aformentioned recovery of inertia can be done with high efficieny and capacity. ... I guess the largest problem with this idea is that it would require a separate rail system, to keep the fast trains from being stuck behind these slow movers. Building such a rail system is expensive.


None of the problems you listed are really true. Diesel locomotives are already hybrid vehicles [howstuffworks.com] , only using the gas engines to generate electricity to drive the motors that push the train. One could add the solar panelled cars on top of the existing system to boost the fuel economy, just as hobbyists have done with those solar powered prius'. So you get the benefits of "free" electricity from the sun as well as the speed and capacity of the diesel generators when needed.

Re:Solar trains (1)

toQDuj (806112) | about 9 years ago | (#13646499)

Well that would not work when the train (automatically) has to stop, for someone in a broken-down car on the rails, a nut with suicidal tendencies or livestock. Also these trains would have to be made very light and the track cannot go up or downhill (for lack of braking power/accellerating power). The roof area of a train is not that big either compared to its volume and on cloudy days it would simply stop. Solar cells are also very inefficient and they break quite easily.
My hopes are on good energy sources coming available in the late 2050's such as fusion power (go ITER!). Don't hold your breath for windmill parks (too large areas) or solar cells (too expensive AND too large required areas (think of a city!)).

B.

Re:Solar trains (1)

huiac (912723) | about 9 years ago | (#13646998)

On this particular route, most of your objections aren't really a concern.

Modern trains can (and generally do) use regenerative braking anyway, but for most of the drive you would probably average about 1 rail crossing every few hundred kilometers, and over that part of the trip the total rise and fall probably need not be more than about 1000 feet (get out an atlas and check out the contour lines over most of Australia, ignoring the east coast).

The trains only need to be as light as you'd prefer for acceleration, but of course for freight the weight of the train would not be the limiting factor.

Oh, and solar cells tend not to just break unless you hit them, and I expect never to travel on a fusion-powered train.

John.

Also: Solar Challange BICYCLE RACE (So Australia) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13646371)

So, how come we don't see reportage on the Subj race?

A $1,000,000 entrant from the Netherlands competing
with others, such as a local high school's $10,000
entrant. Quite a wide range of investment!

Details of all entrants' vehicles, in both races...?

Building One (1)

przemeklach (905526) | about 9 years ago | (#13646436)

Myself and my roomate, more my roomate, are planning on building one of these. This summer he saw the solar power race that goes from Texas to Calgary (not to certain if end-points are correct). I'm not sure if this race is of the same caliber but he saw so many things on those cars that made his hair stand on end ie: why would you use something so heavy? why is the car so far off the ground? Why would you spend so much money on X if you can do it with anohter cheaper material? Basically he saw alot of noobish ideas, isn't this built by university students who are supervised by a prof? The plan right now is to build a solar power car for personal use, so no rules just maximum efficiency, with the idea of entering one of these competitions a few years from now. My question is to those at slashdot that have been involved with these races in the past: are the rules really limiting ingenuity or is it poor design? I know someone was comparing the rules to F1 rules which I think suck. If the rules are the problem then I think I should start planning my own race :-).

Re:Building One (1)

Teun (17872) | about 9 years ago | (#13647060)

why would you use something so heavy? why is the car so far off the ground? Why would you spend so much money on X if you can do it with anohter cheaper material? Basically he saw alot of noobish ideas, isn't this built by university students who are supervised by a prof?

These cars are as light as possible, even the drivers are selected for size and weight.
The cars are so far off the ground for good reasons, the main one is less drag. The wheels/tires are selected for the least resistance, the shape is with as little frontal area as feasable. But maybe your friend saw real (and poor) amateurs instead of these professionals with important sponsors.

Have a look at the various websites of the teams, that'll show you what is needed to be competetive.

Re:Building One (3, Interesting)

cbc1920 (730236) | about 9 years ago | (#13647215)

The biggest rules limiting design are the following: Car size: 1.8x5m, 2m high. The size limit is for obvious reasons- without it, they cars would get huge. driver position: eye height 0.7m, head behind and above knees, ground visibility 8m ahead. Purely safety- the driver can't see what's going on if he's 2" off the pavement, and a headfirst seating position is incredibly dangerous in any crash. Other than that, all of the rules just say that your car has to be electrically and mechanically safe, with battery monitoring and a full roll cage. The officials encourage innovation, as long as the end result is still a safe car. As far as your question about ride height, it is mostly determined by the size of the tires and the eye height requirement. Yes, lower is better, but get too low and your wheels are coming through your array and your driver's cockpit stick out 2 feet! If you look at the top 5 cars in the field, they are engineering marvels, both in aerodynamics and weight reduction. Believe me, nothing goes on these cars without a very good reason.

Need to use Google Earth (1)

fstayloriv (908796) | about 9 years ago | (#13646587)

These guys definitely need to use Google Earth to track the cars along the race.

At least Australia cares about technology... (3, Interesting)

Hosiah (849792) | about 9 years ago | (#13646589)

Here in the US, the plan seems to be to conquor the entire planet and pirate fossil fuels until the last drop is used...after which time, I wonder what plan B is? Scoop up corpes of vanquished third-world citizens and burn them, too? The heck with Soylent Green, we'll be too busy converting corpses into Soylent Gas, instead.

I remember reading about Australia's solar-powered car race back in the 80's in the Smithsonian. Naive child that I was, then, I thought, "Wow! If they're doing that already, it can't be five years until we see them on the streets in the US!"

Now, every time I bring this up, I hear "Aw, you can't drive from 'Frisco to Vegas in a single day in a solar-powered car!", so I'll cut out the middle man: You can keep your gas-guzzler for cross-country runs, industrial/commercial use, and off-road exploring. I'm talking about city-use only with these. The average urban dweller just needs to get around town, for driving times of less than 40 minutes each, on roads with lots of stop-and-go driving and speed limits 45 MPH or less - not counting the freeway (In places like LA, the freeways work out exactly the same, anyway, thanks to traffic!). To and from work, the store, appointments, etc. A hybrid electric-solar urban vehicle could be light (about half the raw materials we currently use), two-passenger (who needs the extra seats when most folks wouldn't car-pool if there were a gun to their heads?), and would only need to store a maximum of three or four hours charge (when was the last time you Big City types had a commute longer than that?). The expensive part comes in upgrading all the parking spaces - installing an outlet in each one. The car could locate the sensor whenever it's parked and automatically plug itself in, whenever it detects that it's low on juice. The cost is offset by the parking meters - which we already have all over the place downtown, anyway.

The heck with the future - we should have started doing this ten years ago! Don't give me the usual Slashdot chant: "Can't happen! Won't work! Impossible!" Apply the freakin' science already! Instead of gas running you several hundred dollars a week, you could pay half that in taxes to fund this project.

Re:At least Australia cares about technology... (1)

Hosiah (849792) | about 9 years ago | (#13646618)

The car could locate the sensor whenever it's parked

I mean, use a sensor to locate the outlet...

we've had solar races in the US since the 80s too (2, Informative)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | about 9 years ago | (#13646748)

First race was 1989, as far as I know and every 3 years since.

So I don't get your rant here.

These cars are very impractical. I'm not saying some of the technology can't be used in street cars. But to use these vehicles day to day would basically entail getting rid of traffic lights for starters, because their acceleration characteristics are so poor.

As to lighter cars, if you want lighter cars, you have to start elsewhere. The biggest factor in the weight of current cars is safety and safety-based regulations. Oh, and did I mention these vehicles aren't at all safe?

Why do you speak of electrical outlets in relation to solar cars? Sunlight is wireless.

Re:At least Australia cares about technology... (1)

JahToasted (517101) | about 9 years ago | (#13647289)

What about hybrid cars? you can plug them in and charge them up. You can upgrade the batteries so that for commuting you'd never need any gasoline. But its there as a backup in case you need to go for a distance.

You can buy solar panels and put them on the roof of your house. Call your congressman or MP and tell them that you'd like to see cleaner energy sources.

The technology is here already. Just look around (and maybe pay a little extra, sucks to be an early adopter, huh?) you can put together a solution. Nobody is going to do it for you.

More info on the Tesseract (2, Informative)

Fox_1 (128616) | about 9 years ago | (#13646789)

From the University of Calgary [wsc.org.au]

MIT's Tesseract met with disaster. Tesseract's front, left, carbon fiber tire rim broke on a tight turn causing the driver to loose control and roll over. After a few tense moments it was announced that the driver was okay, walking away with only a sprained wrist and some very rattled nerves. At the team meeting later in the day, it was mentioned that when the solar car was righted, the driver's head actually bumped the ground as the canopy had split on impact. Thankfully, MIT is one of a few teams participating in the WSC that prioritizes safety over aerodynamics, using both a roll bar and a helmet. No one doubts that the inclusion of these two safety measures assured that the driver was able to walk away today. Tesseract, on the other hand, did not fare as well as its driver. The array and top shell suffered substantial damage, but like any dedicated team, MIT is now burning the midnight oil in hopes of being on the starting line tomorrow morning

More than just Solar vehicles. (2, Informative)

LazJen (14834) | about 9 years ago | (#13646796)

This challenge is also for other forms of "clean"/"green" energy.

For example, a team is entering a car powered completely by ethanol. They converted an 80 year old vintage car for the purpose.

Hey why dont we... (1)

StealthEMD (916613) | about 9 years ago | (#13647758)

I got a design (dont put much faith in it) that mwy work but unfortunately I dont have recources. But I love these solar concept cars. If only our government would spend as much on alternative fules as they do on fossil fuels, we would not have smog issues because there would be no fossil fules. But HEY, what do I know? I'm only an over-informed 16yo.
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