90 mph and packed with technology, the oldest university solar vehicle team reveals its latest solar race car. The MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team unveiled Eleanor, a $243,000 carbon-fiber racer which it is prepping for an inaugural race later this year.
Eleanor will race nearly 2,000 miles of Australian outback for seven days in the tenth World Solar Challenge.
The competition is a test of batteries, motor technology and power-management systems. All of these systems may appear in hybrids and electric vehicles, and may also influence the design of some of the vehicles we see in showrooms.
After six months designing the body, the team began fine-tuning Eleanor in Ford Motor Company’s wind tunnel. The result: a super-slippery drag coefficient of 0.11, making Eleanor more aerodynamic than a Toyota Prius, the EV1 or even the super-slick Aptera 2e electric car.
Eleanor features 580 silicon solar cells, covering six square meters (about 64.5 square feet), manufactured by Sun Power. The solar cells generate 1,200 watts (equal to energy required to run a hair dryer or a pair of desktop computers). The 6-kilowatt-hour Genasun battery pack stores all energy, comprising of 693 lithium-ion cells. The 32 kilograms (about 71 pounds) battery provides enough power, even without sunlight, for Eleanor to drive about three hours. She is propelled by a 10-horsepower hub.
Some Energy Saving Cars on the Market or Soon Entering the Market
Chevrolet Volt range-extended EV, the forthcoming electric car that General Motors has all but bet its future on.
The Volt is a direct descendant of the Sunraycer solar car General Motors developed with AeroVironment