University of Minnesota Qualifies for 1995 World Solar-Car Rallye in Akita, Japan

Ogata-mura, Japan -- Today the University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project qualified Aurora-II for the 3rd annual World Solar-Car Rallye in Ogata-mura, Japan. The team left the United States on Sunday July 23rd, 3 weeks after finishing seconds in the American solar car race, Sunrayce 95.

The two races are different, but still stress the importance of solar assisted transportation for the future. In Sunrayce 95, the fastest cumulative time over 1,200 miles will be declared the winner, while in the 1995 World Solar-Car Rallye in Akita the winner is the team with the most distance covered in 3 days of 8 hour racing for a total of 24 hours.

In the 1995 World Solar-Car Rallye there are three classes: Free, Stock, and Junior. 'Free' class in which an technology can be used such as the worlds best electrical batteries and the worlds best solar cells. 'Stock' class has no technology limitation on the solar cells, but they must use commerically available lead acid batteries. 'Junior' class is schools such as high schools and universities which are in this race. The University of Minnesota team will be competing in the 'Junior' class.

The team has been working on Aurora-II since arriving in Japan on July 24th, making modifications to meet the different rules between the two race. The team has also been busy testing, and verifying that the car is in working order for the start of the race on July 28th at 9:00 a.m.

The car passed technical inspection on July 26th at 5:00 p.m., and had to perform an acceleration test today to determine the starting lineup for race start tomorrow. Aurora-II accelerated to over 35 mph (55 kph) in just over 27 seconds while covering 1300 feet(400 meters). The sitting at the pole with the fastest acceleration time turned in today was by Honda Dream, which won the 1993 World Solar Challenge. The university team starts in the 14th position overall, and in 5th place in the 'Junior' class.

The team is looking forward to start racing tomorrow, and is looking forward to competing in the same race as several of the best solar car teams in the world.