A lot of Universities around the world have solar racing teams that build cool UFO-looking vehicles that compete with each other for speed and efficiency records. The University of Pennsylvania is not one of them. They used to be, though. A few years back, the students involved with the racing club took a hard right turn and haven't looked back. The interdisciplinary group of 40 are now simply as Penn Electric Racing and their first non-solar project known as Renagade is nearing completion and is awesome for so many reasons.
Renegade was built to run hard for a quarter mile at a time and, as you can see from the above photo, it is unlike any dragster you've ever seen, electric or otherwise. Apparently, and this is just our guess, the original builders were so busy concentrating on how to create space to accommodate a raft of lead-acid batteries they may have not paid a lot of attention to the overall form and left that to the students who would come into the program after them.
Left with an unlikely shape to cover up, the current crop of kids constructed a carbon fiber coat in a custom configuration that looks like, well, what you see above. The team will debut its creation in mid-April before going on to put it through its high-speed paces on the 30th of that month at the NEDRA-sanctioned Capitol Amps event at Capitol Raceway in Odenton, MD.
Whatever laurels they manage to earn at that track visit won't be rested upon. There are plans to convert Renegade to lithium thanks to a generous donation from Tesla Motors. The California company has already forwarded the group over 500 cells that will be incorporated into a scooter project. Hit the jump for video from Penn Electric Racing detailing their electro-automotive efforts.
[Source: Penn Electric Racing]