> Tuesday August 10th at 11:45 AM
> Nathan Hall-Snyder
> Stanford Solar Car Project
> Founded in 1989, the Stanford Solar Car Project is an entirely
> non-profit organization fueled by its members’ passion for
> sustainable technology. Since its founding, the Project has built 9
> generations of solar cars ranging from the SunSurfer to the most
> car, the Apogee. The Project provides a unique opportunity for
> students to gain valuable hands-on engineering and business
> while raising community awareness of clean energy vehicles.
> Earlier this summer, the car and its team completed the 2010
> Solar Challenge, a competition to design, build and race
> cars in a four-stage cross-continental race from Oklahoma to
> winning the final stage and coming in 4th overall. Apogee
> with a fairly aggressive stance towards innovation and includes
> homemade electronics and more refined mechanical systems than any
> previous Stanford car.
> Nathan Hall-Snyder, the current Apogee team lead and mechanical
> will describe what technologies go into a solar car, the major
> challenges of high-efficiency vehicles, and how an automotive
> open to the potential of solar power could help our ailing planet
> the future.
by showing us pictures of a variety of solar race cars from history.
It's been 20 years since the first Solar car race, so there has been
quite a bit of evolution in the designs. For one thing, the early cars
had a beetle shaped quality, whereas the modern ones are more like
rectangular pancakes. The most expensive single one was Honda's
$25,000,000 beauty. He said that one "blew away the competition."
showed us some stats on Stanford's new three wheeled car with Sun Power
solar cells. Things like 0 to 60 in 13 seconds, top speed of 75 MPH,
total weight of 420 lbs. It has such features as an organic LED display
that uses much less power than the kind of display found in laptop
computers. He couldn't show us the machine itself because it's
currently not in drivable shape.
compared a solar race car with a prius. The solar car weighs about 10%
of the prius. The solar car has much more efficient wheel motors. The
rolling resistance of the wheels is also much lower. All the weight and
creature comfort enhancing features in a prius mean that all the power
the prius could collect in a day if its body was covered with solar
cells would move it 5 miles. The solar race car goes 300 miles on the
same amount of charge.
forward, Nathan expects his team to have a car in two races next year.
One race crosses Australia from northern end to southern end, and the
other goes up the middle of the USA. Looking for a new way to get an
edge, they are investigating a new three wheeled steering algorithm to
align the body of the car with the wind flow on the road in real time.
He would like to see the Stanford team winning! They are looking for
sponsors to help make that happen.
During Q&A the following came up:
annual budgets range from $40,000 to $2,000,000. Stanford's team spends
about $100,000 and gets another $100,000 or so worth of parts and
services donated to the cause. By far the biggest line item in the
budget is the fiberglass molds for the body parts.
One of the
challenges in these races is staying awake while driving down long
straight roads through the middle of nowhere. Many teams have drivers
that have fallen asleep at the wheel. The challenge is to have a car
that recovers from such accidents.
solar car racing team is an all volunteer group, so it's a challenge to
get everybody on the same page and moving forward together. Just
scheduling meetings is tough.
about 80 solar car racing teams that compete in these challenges.
would love to do some wind tunnel testing, but they can't afford to pay
for it. Lockheed wants $100,000 per day to use theirs, so that's not an
option. Instead they do computer simulations, which Stanford has good
If you would
like to schedule a tour or ask questions, please email