UT Austin's 'TexSun' Solar Car Hits The Track
Solar car competitions have been occurring since 1990, and residents of Austin, Texas have the pleasure this weekend of seeing the latest advancements in student-built solar powered cars.
The 2017 Formula Sun Grand Prix is an annual collegiate solar car competition that introduces the community to all that’s possible with solar and other renewable energy sources. The competition is taking place this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas track (COTA) in Del Valle.
The team that completes the most laps of the 3.5 mile-long track will win the race, and they can do it using only solar power, refueling their cars with sunshine. During the final day of competition, the public will have the opportunity to get up-close with the solar cars and support their favorite school’s team.
UT Solar Vehicle Team Hosts 2017 Competition
The TexSun was completed with a weight of 350 pounds (without a driver), which is 250 pounds lighter than previous solar cars designed by the UT Solar Vehicles Team.
TexSun’s solar panel arrays are located on its detachable wing that comprises the largest portion of the car. The array is made up of 3 smaller sub-arrays of silicon monocrystalline cells, which were manufactured by SunPower. The car includes two sub-arrays at the front end of the vehicle and a single sub-array at the rear of the vehicle.
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The batteries used in TexSun are lithium iron phosphate batteries manufactured by A123 Systems. Each cell has a capacity of 2.5 Ah and a nominal voltage of 3.3 V. The battery pack for TexSun was designed with 36 modules in series with each module including 14 battery cells. The batteries were placed in a flame-retardant box that the team created.
Saturday is Public Day
During the final day of raycing, the public will have the opportunity to get up close with the solar cars, and cheer on their favorite teams! This portion of the event will take place on Saturday, July 8th from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Circuit of the Americas is located at 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd Austin, TX 78617.
Visit the American Solar Challenge website for more information.
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