Solar Vehicle Project team wins American Solar Challenge

The University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project (UMNSVP) team placed first in the Multi-Occupant class at the 2022 American Solar Challenge (ASC). Held every other year, the competition sees collegiate teams race solar-powered cars over a 1000 to 2000 mile course across North America.  Set up to mimic real world driving conditions such as city streets and highways, varying weather conditions, inclines and slopes, and traffic and road safety rules, the routes are designed to give teams the opportunity to demonstrate what their cars are capable of when put through the stresses of real world driving.  

The student-led University team has built 14 cars over more than three decades, and have been competing in the American Solar Challenge since 1993. Having placed second in both, Single-Occupant and Multi-Occupant classes seven times in the past, coming in at the top of the scoreboard at the 2022 challenge has been particularly sweet. The UMNSVP team drove the car, named Freya, along the Oregon Trail National Historic Trail from Independence, Missouri to Twin Falls, Idaho, an eight day route that covered more than 1400 miles split into 4 stages. The preamble to the race were four days of Scrutineering (a series of static and dynamic inspections) that began on July 1, followed by the Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) 2022 that began on July 5, culminating in the ASC 2022 that commenced on July 9 and ended on July 16, making for 16 days of solar car festivities. 

Needless to say, the win has been thrilling for the UMNSVP team, and members Amber Zierden (Director of Engineering and mechanical engineering student), Ivana Truong (Director of Operations and biochemistry student), and Professor David Orser (ECE faculty and advisor to the team) shared their excitement with us. 


Table of scores of 2022 ASC participants in the MOV class
Photo credit
American Solar Challenge
Multi-Occupant Vehicle class scores with UMNSVP at the top of the scoreboard

For us at the University and in the College of Science and Engineering, we are extremely proud of team UMNSVP's hard work, innovative spirit, and determination to overcome the challenges of the past years, qualities that have helped them earn their ASC 2022 win. Orser points to the excellent opportunities that present themselves when students engage in a group such as the UMNSVP. And the members of the team have those skills in abundance. Their futures are full of promise, and when they leave the University one final time as graduates, we are certain we will hear exciting updates from them on the turns in their careers and lives.

Learn more about the American Solar Challenge

Learn about the UMNSVP team