University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project AURORA-I

Date: February 1, 1993
To: Sunrayce 93, Dr. Gordon Beavers, Dr. Richard Goldstein, Dr. Anne Hopkins, Mr. John Larson, Dr. Virgil Marple, Dr. Pat Starr
From: Scott Grabow
cc: SVP Executive Committee
RE: 02/01/93 Status Update

Overall Project

Since the last update, the project has obtained several large donations,and is receiving help from the University in promoting several events before Sunrayce 93, plus a new influx of people seem to be interested in the project as work is progressing.

With this influx of new people into the project, they are helping to decrease the work load on the designers, and are willing to do construction of parts of the vehicle under designer's supervision.

Since the last update, more publicity has been generated around the car, and the race ending up here in the Twin Cities. Included with this is state wide coverage of the team, radio spots, interviews with news media, and local groups. Requests are starting to come in for AURORA to be shown around the state. Plus educational presentations are already going on with local schools, especially the elementary to middle school age kids.


Due to our computer simulation program Genlab problem the structural report is going to be based on two different computer simulations of composite materials. The first is Genlab for the forces being applied to our driver's safety cage, and the other is a Univ. of Minnesota Graduate Thesis program developed to hand the cases where Genlab is not accurate. Genlab can not handle the cases of moments being applied to our driver's safety cage.

Otherwise the undertunnel mold is waiting for final touches before the prototype undertunnel will be available to the mechanical group for component attachment issues. The canopy mold is ready to assemble the splash, or female mold for the canopy. While the array mold is finishing up in the next two weeks.


From recent calculations, and simulation runs of the pre-race route, AURORA seems to have a very high output. Much higher than some of us had expected. Fabrication, and preparations are now being made for final array assembly. Timings of assemblies are starting this week, and will finish this week.

Recently, our motor manufacturer has had several questions, which may push out our receipt of the motor to past March 5th. Their questions have come through due to certain "unforeseen" problems with the original information they requested accompany our order.

Several discussions with people in the field about the batteries has lead us to look at several issues for the next car to be designed. What type of charging system should we use, and the overall design of such a system. These changes may go along to help the foreseen changes that need to occur to the future car.

A complete analysis of the heat transfer model has proven to be used to verify the selected design, and materials. Certain problems that have occurred in the past will be eliminated by this models due to timely selection of materials.

Ergonomics/Race Strategy:

The Ergonomics team has finished the driver control layout issues. The full scale mock up of the driver's safety cage show we need to address the area of egress better. Changes are in store for parts that will need to have driver access such as the canopy hing system, and the escape route of the driver.


The previous issues of changing wheel base, and handling characteristics are resolved. Now the design of several parts is under progress again.

The transmission system is being changed due to the fore mentioned motor problems, from the questions being raised by the motor manufacturer.