Daedalus Unveiling

Posted on July 16, 2013 by Arlo Siemsen.

The University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project team will unveil its newest solar-hybrid car at a special event for the media, sponsors and supporters at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 18 at the University’s St. Paul Campus, Ruttan Hall, Room B36, 1994 Buford Avenue, St. Paul.

After a few brief remarks from student team leaders, those attending will be among the first to see the new car and view its inner workings, tour the Solar Vehicle Project team’s shop, and hear from members of the team about the upcoming competition.

This is the first public viewing of the car in preparation for the 2013 World Solar Challenge, a 3,000-kilometer (1,864-mile) race across the Australian Outback starting in Darwin and heading south to Adelaide. The race runs from Oct. 6-13, 2013.

The University of Minnesota’s new car, named Daedalus, is the first-ever two-seater car that balances practicality with efficiency. The U of M’s team will compete in a new Cruiser Class where practicality, not speed, is the goal. The team’s car will include a few comfort features of regular cars such as a stereo and actual car seats.

This year’s car is unique among its competitors in that the University of Minnesota is the only team in the race to use completely student-designed and built motors and motor controllers. The car’s two motors have a combined total of about 42 horsepower and can reach a top speed of about 90 miles per hour. During the race the team is required to follow the road’s speed limit, which is 130 kilometers per hour or about 81 miles per hour.

The University of Minnesota is among 10 teams from around the world competing in the Cruiser Class and more than 45 teams competing in all classes of the World Solar Challenge. The University of Minnesota solar car team has a history of success. The team won first place at the 2011 American Solar Challenge’s Formula Sun Grand Prix track race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and finished fifth overall in the 2012 American Solar Challenge.

More than 30 University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering students are part of the current team and 15 will be part of the race crew. Team members estimate that they’ve collectively spent more than 30,000 hours over the last 10 months planning and building the solar car.

In addition to significant support from the University's College of Science and Engineering and several academic departments, materials for the U of M’s solar car were funded through cash and in-kind donations of parts and materials from more than 50 local and national companies. Major sponsors include 3M, Altium, ANSYS, Cirrus Design, Delta Airlines, Dyplast, General Mills, IAR, Infolytica, NVIDIA, PAR System, PTC, Segger Microcontroller, Stratasys, Sunpower, and Trutech.