Univ. of Minnesota's new solar vehicle Centaurus III - KMSP-TV

Univ. of Minnesota's new solar vehicle Centaurus III is ready to win

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

University of Minnesota engineering students are putting the finishing touches on a state-of-the-art car that will compete against designs from some of the top engineering schools in the country. The U of M is one of 24 teams from around the world competing in this year's American Solar Challenge.

The Minnesota vehicle, named Centaurus III, is just over 3 feet tall, 16 feet long and nearly 6 feet wide, and weighs just under 400 pounds. The car includes a newly revamped electrical system, improved aerodynamics and even some new safety features.

After several days of inspections, the teams will race more than 1,700 miles on different tracks across the U.S., starting later this month in Austin, Texas and finishing up back in Minnesota.

“You want it to be as light as possible,” said Bryan Dean, the U of M’s solar vehicle project manager. “You want it to be as aerodynamic as possible. You want all your electrical systems to be as efficient as possible. So you kind of have to trade all of those things off and so it's definitely a challenge to come up with the fastest car that you can make.”

The solar vehicle was built in roughly a year by 50 students from the College of Science and Engineering. Just 17 students will be part of the race team.

Along with sponsors, the car was built with funding and material donated to the U of M's solar vehicle project. The Minnesota solar team usually finishes among the top teams in the race, but they'll be facing some tough competition from teams like M.I.T. and U.C.-Berkeley.

University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project Open House
http://discover.umn.edu/news/science-technology/u-m-solar-car-team-hosts-july-8-open-house-race-across-america-ends


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