Sunday, March 22, 2009

Solar Car meets Aptera in D.C.

Two members of the UK Solar Car Team had the opportunity to meet with officials from Aptera Motors during the EGR599: Engineering Leadership trip to Washington, D.C.

Anthony Robertson and Nick Such conversed with CEO Paul Wilbur and Senior Engineer Sean Touhy as the Aptera 2e was displayed on Capitol Hill. The Aptera 2e is an electric vechicle, capable of 100 miles per charge, at an efficiency equivalent of 300+ miles per gallon. Of all production vehicles, it is the most similar to UK's Solar Car.

Aptera was in Washington with a congressman from their home state of California to lobby for its piece of the DOE's $25 billion in funding for domestic production of high-efficiency vehicles. While the Federal Government prepares to distribute this funding to other automakers, Aptera's application was initially rejected due to the fact that it has 3 wheels, instead of the conventional 4. This article from further explains their situation.

Aptera is one of the frontrunners for the Automotive X-Prize.

Solar Car Team member Sam Nicaise was also on the D.C. trip, and had the opportunity to meet with Congressman Ben Chandler at the same time.

More on Aptera:
From Aptera Motors
From Edmunds

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Foam arrives from Lowe's

We learned the effect of compounding overestimation as 100 sheets of XEPS (Styrofoam) arrived today, filling up most of the garage's main room. This should provide us with plenty of foam for manufacturing the shell and fairings for Gato del Sol IV.

This foam will be used to create a male mold, also known as a plug, in the shape of Gato 4's shell. This will be accomplished in two steps. First, we will cut and glue the 2 inch sections of foam together to form the rough shape of the car. Second, we will use a large 5-axis CNC to precisely mill the shape of the car from this block using our 3D CAD model as the reference.

Thanks to Lowe's of N.E. Lexington and their price-match guarantee for helping us to move forward with our new shell-manufacturing process!

Versailles Family Science Day

The Solar Car Team celebrated Pi day by showing off Gato del Sol III at the Versailles Family Science Day at Huntertown Elementary.

The purpose of our attendance at the event was to provide positive role models in the STEM fields (Science Technology Engineering and Math). We talked to over 100 students and their families about our trip from Texas to Canada and explained how a solar-powered car works. UK's SWE chapter was also on hand with a cool demonstration of paper rocket propulsion.

Anthony even got to fulfill his life-long dream of making an announcement over the intercom!

Thanks to Versailles resident and Lexmark engineer Glenn Edelen and his family for coordinating the inaugural event, and even adopting a solar cell!