Stanford University unveils solar-powered Xenith, the car that's more aerodynamic than a bike

Xenith – Click above to watch video after the jump

Tipping the scales at a scant 375 pounds, the solar-powered Xenith has a 4-inch thick thin chassis made of a blend of carbon fiber, titanium and aluminum. A novel steering system puts the driver in control of the front wheel, while a computer steers the two rear wheels. The result: a spaceship-like vehicle that has less aerodynamic drag than a rider on a bicycle. That's not bad for a vehicle that can cruise continuously at 55 miles per hour fueled only by the sun.

The Xenith, as this thing is called, was unveiled last Thursday by Stanford University, after two years in the making. The team will be competing in the prestigious World Solar Challenge this fall, putting Xenith to the ultimate test in a 2,000-mile trek across the Australian continent. For the 20-member team, heading off to Australia for the 11th World Solar Challenge will be the thrilling and tumultuous end to a long voyage. Once Down Under, the Xenith will be pitted against 30 vehicles, including solar-powered rides from 20 other countries. If victorious, then Stanford University will become the first American team to win the the race since 1987. Hit the jump to catch video of the powered-by-the-sun Xenith in action.

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