Borealis III Unveiling

University of Minnesota
Solar Vehicle Project
Press Release
April 28, 2005
Unveiling of Borealis III and Formula Sun 2005

The 2005 Borealis III solar vehicle will be unveiled to the public on Friday, May 6th in front of Walter Library on the U of M campus from 1:30 to 4:00. The Borealis III is the latest creation of the University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project and demonstrates the use of renewable energy doing a familiar task: Traveling along current highways. Team members will compete in the North American Solar Challenge (NASC), which will run from Austin, TX 2500 miles to Calgary, Canada from July 17th-27th. They will also compete in the 2005 Formula Sun on the Heartland Park Raceway in Topeka, KS from May 16th-20th, which is a qualifying event for the NASC.

Since January 2004, a team of 46 U of M undergrads have been carrying out research, design, and construction of the cutting edge technologies incorporated on the car such as digital electronics, similar to those used in current automobiles, high efficiency solar cells like those used on the Mars Rover, brushless D.C. motors similar to those in hydrogen powered cars, composite materials as used in fighter jets, and efficient suspension systems which are unique to solar cars. These technologies are interdisciplinary and are integrated into Borealis III as a demonstration of the use of renewable energy which will easily travel at 55 mph using only the power of the sun!

The 2005 project is supported by over 60 corporate and University partners and dozens of individuals who contribute support. It is also supported by over 43,000 hours of student research, design, fabrication, and testing.

The U of M solar Vehicle Project (UMNSVP) has an impressive history since 1993, two-year teams have created six solar vehicles and have entered 13 events in the USA, Japan, and Australia, and have finished first or second in 7 of those events. The new Borealis III, at 370 pounds, is the lightest and most powerful solar vehicle that U of M teams have produced and we expect to add to this impressive history in the rayces this summer!

The project fills an important educational need by providing students hands on experience with the product development process. In two years this group of students goes from little knowledge about this process to developing a world class solar vehicle. Industry recognizes the value of this training through past financial and in-kind support, and hiring project graduates. The project is fueled by the sun and powered by the mind.