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Solar Car Modifications for 2018 Begins

The team has many lessons learned from the 2017 Solar Car Challenge and we are ready to get to work applying those to our car.

With those in mind, we came up with the following list of modifications for our car to get ready for the July 2018, cross country competition:

Aerodynamics / Efficiency

  • redesign front windshield from lexan to be more laid back and perhaps start further up on the car

  • cut 15" box section out of the front part of the frame and remount the nose cone

  • perhaps remove the uprights near windshield base and relocate the front hinge for tilting array to be aligned with front of double A arm mount.


  • improved steering rack and associated tie rod arm movement to avoid binding that sometimes currently occurs

  • eliminate the front brake drag during turns

  • Improved front suspension (roll control)

  • rebuild rear suspension with longer heavier fork and lower motor position and stiffer shocks

  • larger rear chain (motor cycle) size or convert to belt drive


  • reposition the solar charge controller and the array wiring to be located behind the driver above the battery box

  • reposition the motor controller to be behind the driver and add a giant heat sync

  • adjust the parameters of the motor controller to soften the throttle tip in

  • relocate the external array and motor disconnects to be located behind the driver

  • consider relocating the driver array and motor disconnects to be closer to battery box to shorten 1/0 cable runs

  • rewire the 12 volt system to have a larger battery, cleaner lay out under the dash, and to use conduit / wire trays along the frame of the vehicle for wire routing

Vehicle Information System / Telemetry

  • add an Outback Power Mate3 and FlexNet DC system to monitor and store the following 48 volt info: solar array input power; battery temperature, voltage, and state of charge; and motor power consumption, as well as, the 12 volt battery state of charge

  • add additional telemetry to monitor and store the following: vehicle speed, throttle position, brake position, vehicle position (latitude, longitude, & elevation), temperature, motor temperature, motor controller temperature, vehicle mode (i.e. stationary, driving, or trailering), driver (Morgan, Kaya, or Steven)

  • capture all of the above data in a queryable database / excel file / flat file

  • build the necessary dashboards for both the driver and chase car strategy team to visualize the above data


  • add structural members underneath the car for seat and seat belt attachment and use grade 8 bolts

  • add newly required upper crush zone supports (2018 rules change)

  • change out the 5 point seat belts to some that are more easily adjustable

  • add “quick jack” points to the frame of the car for safe and secure lifting

  • add “quick connect” points to the car and the trailer, as well as, securing devices to make for quick loading and unloading of the car

  • add a driver adjustable sliding floor mechanism for both the brakes and accelerator to accommodate different driver leg lengths

  • add a louder horn

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