Ecofest Report: University of Toronto Blue Sky Solar Racing

The University of Toronto's Blue Sky Solar Racing program began in 1997. Now with over 100 student members, they're in the process of developing their third solar race car which should be ready for the 2007 World Solar Challenge. For Ecofest 2006, they brought their 2nd generation vehicle which is dubbed Faust II.

The Faust II is a single-seat solar race vehicle capable of reaching a top speed of 75 mph. The silicon-based solar cell array is able to generate 1000 watts with 19 percent efficiency. The powerplant driving the rear wheel is an NGM DC brushless electric motor which produces 5kW (about 6.7 hp). The shell is made from carbon fiber and Kevlar and is attached to a tubular aluminum frame. The overall weight of the car is roughly 450 pounds.

Representatives for the program were graduate students Branko Daljevic and Amy Bilton as well as the managing director, Andreas Marouchos.

Andreas feels that the solar race car project is a good way of educating the public and promote alternative-fuel vehicles. He said that he believes the technology to power our cars on different sources of electricity exists for the real world. The problem we face right now is getting the government and public to accept these technologies because the major car companies will build what the public wants. He also keenly noted that the first solar cars began to appear in the 1970s, "astonishingly close to the first oil crisis." Andreas has been with the project since 2001.

More information about the Blue Sky Solar Racing Program can be found at their website.

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