Purdue solar-powered car wins award

A team of Purdue University students has won first place in the solar-power category of the Shell Eco-marathon Americas, an international contest for college and high-school students to design and build the most fuel-efficient vehicles.

The Purdue Solar Racing team’s car, called Pulsar, took home the ‘People’s Choice Award’ and won the solar-power category. The Purdue team also won last year’s solar-car category.

Pulsar’s body is covered with panels containing photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight to electricity to power a motor. The three-wheel vehicle weighs 170lb (77kg) and has a top-speed of 25 miles an hour (40 kilometres an hour).

About 40 undergraduate students worked on the project in teams, focusing on the car’s carbon-fibre body; propulsion, braking and suspension systems; and business, marketing and fundraising.

This year was the third and last for the Pulsar vehicle, which has been modified to improve the car’s suspension to reduce tyre and wheel resistance.

Major sponsors of the project were Lockheed Martin and Exelon, as well as Purdue’s College of Engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering and Office of the Provost.