Solar vehicle project on the open road

U of M team places second at American Solar Challenge

Team placed first in Formula Sun Grand Prix track race

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (07/26/2018) — This summer, the University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project set off on a journey to race against solar car teams from around the world in the 2018 American Solar Challenge and Formula Sun Grand Prix.

With a grand total of 326 laps, all carrying a driver and a passenger, the University of Minnesota placed first in the Formula Sun Grand Prix multi-occupant vehicle class. That lap count competed with the faster single-occupant class as well. The Minnesota team would have received fourth place overall with the single occupant solar cars!

The team then turned their attention to the 1,600-mile American Solar Challenge from Omaha, NE, to Bend, OR (loosely tracing the Oregon trail). The University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project team tied for second in the cross-country American Solar Challenge.

"This journey has pushed us to do great things and has given us unforgettable life lessons," said Rickey Sipila, an industrial and systems engineering student who is the director of operations for the Solar Vehicle Project team.

For this year’s American Solar Challenge, the University of Minnesota team drove their car named Eos II, the car they used in last year’s 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia.

The University of Minnesota's Solar Vehicle Project was founded in 1990 and has since built 13 cars. The Solar Vehicle Project has competed in more than 30 racing events. Their cars have traveled to five nations across three continents—Australia, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, and of course, the United States of America.

If you'd like to help fund the team's next race in Australia, visit the Solar Vehicle Project Team giving website.

If you'd like to support students in CSE, visit the CSE giving page.