University of Calgary engineering students are hoping the latest redesign of a solar race car earns them a top spot at a prestigious event in the United States next year.

They’re aiming to compete in the 2010 American Solar Challenge, which pits solar race car drivers against each other in a long-distance trek from Tulsa, Okla., to Chicago.

There have been two other solar-powered race cars developed by students at the U of C.

The redesigned chassis is lighter because it’s made out of a carbon fibre composite and will be half the weight of its metal predecessors. It’s also faster and more energy-efficient.

Jeff Wickenheiser, one of the project managers, says another huge improvement is the driver’s seat.

Instead of having to sit on the frame of the vehicle, the driver will actually be able to sit in a seat inside the car.

“We’ve come up with a more efficient design that’s a real testament to the potential of solar technology. We’ve also made this car more ‘user-friendly’ by adding a seat and making the driver’s quarters more spacious. We’re gradually moving towards a solar car that is more practical,” said Wickenheiser.

 

the canadian press with files from Metro Calgary