University of Calgary solar car visits Cochrane High
It may have looked like an unidentified flying object, but the University of Calgary Solar Team is completely up to speed when it comes to their solar car project.
Making a pit stop at Cochrane High School (CHS) on May 4 during their third tour of rural Alberta, the space-like, solar-powered automobile was on display for students of all ages to check out.
“We do a lot of school visits on this tour,” said driver and CHS graduate Ian Haigh, adding that Cochrane was a last-minute schedule change on the tour. “We always try to engage the students.”
Around 200 students from CHS, Manachaban Middle School and Elizabeth Barrett Elementary flocked to see the futuristic vehicle.
An electrical engineering student at U of C since 2010, Haigh said the car is almost completely designed and built by university students, boasts a top speed of approximately 130 km/hour and weighs around 160 kilograms.
“It’s a very efficient motor,” said Haigh, explaining that the solar cells charge the car’s 476 Li-Ion battery.
Aside from trying to raise awareness of alternative energy sources, the solar car has been an ongoing success story on the racetrack, where it has been Canada’s best-placing contender in the World Solar Challenge in Australia in 2005, 2007 and 2008. Last year the car placed 6th overall at the American Solar Challenge.
From conception, the car took six months to design and another half year to construct. It is constructed mostly of carbon fibre, with a titanium roll bar to prevent injury.
In addition to Cochrane, the team visited several municipalities on its most recent journey, including Sherwood Park, Sundre and Sylvan Lake.