Powered solely by the sun, this single-seat race vehicle uses the same amount of energy that it takes to power a hair-dryer. Generation is anticipated to reach a maximum speed of 80 mph.  Building the solar car is a two year project that takes over 100 student team members and more than 1 million dollars.  Vehicles from previous project cycles are on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, and the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.


Generation is the team’s 12th vehicle.  Generation has four wheels to accommodate the 2013 World Solar Challenge which mandates a four-wheeled design. Straying from the norm, Generation’s design is asymmetric, with the driver seated on the left. The car will race in the 2013 World Solar Challenge against the world’s best solar race vehicles.

The Strategy

Racing successfully goes beyond building the best car, it also must be driven correctly.  Race strategy involves developing detailed mathematic models of the various systems of the vehicle and using these models to predict vehicle performance during the race.  We also take into account weather data from our team meteorologist, which allows us to optimize our energy consumption.

Weight 500-600 pounds (including driver)
Battery Lithium Ion
Solar Cells Silicon Cells
Tires Michelin, low rolling resistance tires
Top Speed 80 MPH
Nominal Power Output <2 hp
Maximum Power Output 12.3 hp
Fuel Type Solar
Chassis & Body Carbon Fiber Monocoque
Motor In-hub, brushless electric DC motor
(approximately 98% efficient)
Dimensions 16’ long x 5’ wide x 3.5’ tall