This week the University of Texas (UT) Solar Vehicle Team is participating in the Formula Sun Grand Prix 2015, which is taking place at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. On Friday, July 31st, the event will be free and open to the public. Attendees will have a chance to interact with the team and attend various tech talks.
This year the UT Solar Vehicle Team will compete with over 18 other solar car teams from schools and colleges all over the world including Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Missouri S&T. UT Solar Vehicle Team will showcase their newest upgraded solar-powered car called TexSun in this year’s competition.
UT Solar Vehicle Team is a student-managed project, which began in the early 90’s. The team aims to build cars that completely function on solar power. They are also working on encouraging the use of solar powered alternatives in the future. The initiative is entirely run by the team right from the conceptualization to the final stages of developing world-class solar vehicles. The UT Solar Vehicle Team is an interdisciplinary group, which attracts students from the engineering divisions such as mechanical, electrical, aerodynamics, and strategy, as well as other operations such as marketing and business.
In the past, the UT Solar Vehicle Team has participated in the 2009 and 2010 Formula Sun Grand Prix with one of their older models – the Samsung Solorean. But they unveiled TexSun in 2013 at the American Solar Challenge. Currently, the group is working on designing their newest invention named BeVolt for the 2016 American Solar Challenge.
In their endeavor to build solar-powered cars, the team has received robust funding from the industry. Some of their continued and generous supporters are Circuits of the Americas, Ford, Chrysler, Freescale Semiconductor, General Motors to name a few.
This will be the team’s third year competing in the Formula Sun Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. This competition is an annual track race that is held on grand prix or road style closed courses. Prior to the main race, each team has to undergo a stringent quality control process referred to as Scrutineering. It involves inspection processes for body & sizing, driver, electrical, battery protection, array, mechanical, dynamic tests to verify handling and braking performance, and support vehicles.
The winner of the race is determined on the basis of the total number of laps completed at the end of the three-day period. The team that completes the fastest single lap around the track is also recognized in the awards ceremony.