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2010 marked another change in the event to two-day stages. Teams would start and end at the same location every two days, which aided in keeping teams closer together for the interested public. In addition to the cross-country rally, teams must pass Scrutineering inspections, and complete a pre-determined number of laps on the Formula Sun Grand Prix (FSGP) race track. Upon completing both, teams are set free to a multi-day, 1,500-2,000 mile cross-country endurance rally across North America.
The design of the solar car will go through two iterations and one physical model. A preliminary design is to be done by spring 2017, followed by a second design that builds upon the first in summer of 2017. Construction will follow beginning fall of 2018 with an adequate amount of time left solely for testing and optimization during spring of 2018 just in time to finish before the race in July of 2018.
Aside from the increased interest in STEM, this project addresses the problem of climate change, a very real and immediate problem. The most promising sustainable energy source is the sun, and the team will learn the physics and engineering that goes into not only capturing the sun’s energy, but storing and using it efficiently as electricity. The unique challenges of designing a solar car will help engineers develop the skills to work in an increasingly sustainable world.