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Profiles in Solar – The American Solar Challenge

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Yesterday was the close of the latest American Solar Challenge, an event that has teams compete for multiple days of racing across the desert in solar powered cars. Typically held every other year, the event dates back to 1990 (when it was known as “Sunrayce”) with the first race covering ground from Orlando, FL to Warren, MI. The teams are from around the world and each car must meet specifics set out at the beginning of the competition and teams must report on progress up until the race begins.Before teams can even compete in the ASC, however, they must prove themselves first through intense design scrutiny and then through the Formula Sun Grand Prixe, an event where they complete several laps on a set course to prove the car is safe. From there, the cars that are remaining get real-world testing over a distance of 1,500-2,000 miles through a variety of driving situations.

This year, the American Solar Challenge spanned 9 days and traveled from Nebraska to Oregon. The winning team was from Western Sydney University in Australia and they are the first international team to date to win the event. This sees them unseating long-standing winners for several previous years – The University of Michigan (who won 2016, 2014, 2012, and 2010). Congratulations to the team from Western Sydney University!

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“American Solar Challenege.” American Solar Challenge, 17 Aug. 2016,
Calderwood, Kathleen. “Sydney Team Wins 2,800km US Solar Race.” ABC News, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 23 July 2018,

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