4 August

Day Six of the American Solar Challenge!

We started the day from the Brown V. Board of Education National Historic Site. The reality of the practice of segregation sank in for many of us as we walked through Monroe Elementary School.

We normalized our array right away, and got to spend our charging time in the adjacent field to Monroe with Iowa State, ETS Quebec, Illinois State, and Poly Montreal. Iowa State pulled out their drone and we all enjoyed watching them take footage of the cars charging.

At 8:45 AM, we were able to hit the road. The Homestead National Monument of America was 150 miles away, so we took the day constantly. The Homestead National Monument of America got a rainstorm 15 minutes before we arrived with Eos, and we fortunately missed getting wet at all. We charged for 45 minutes at the checkpoint, then took off again for Scotts Bluff National Monument, 350 miles past the Homestead National Monument of America and the third stage stop, the last before the end of the race.

Unfortunately, cloudy skies plagued us all day, and we finally decided to charge our car. In York, NE, we stopped for the rest of the day to start charging. We will be taking a 16 hour penalty for doing so, but it would be impossible for us to arrive at the next two stage stops on time without trailering if we didn't charge, and we would rather finish the race in our car than in our trailer.

A big part of the American Solar Challenge is completing the entire race in a single charge, so we are disappointed that we were unable to succeed in this endeavor. We are still happy with our performance, though, since this race is much longer, with more terrain, and less solar irradiance than the World Solar Challenge, for which all the cruiser teams were allowed a second charge halfway through the route. Ultimately, if the sky had been a bit brighter and less rainy, we believe we could have finished the race without charging, but that wasn't the course we got. Fortunately, ASC was understanding of our car's limitations and allowed us the single charge for the penalty.