Calgary University’s solar car to be displayed at Stettler Elementary School yard on May 9

A sleek design – The car that can reach a maximum speed of 140 km. per hour using solely solar power will be driving through Stettler streets at lower speeds during its short visit.

A sleek design – The car that can reach a maximum speed of 140 km. per hour using solely solar power will be driving through Stettler streets at lower speeds during its short visit.

Enthusiasts of motoring world: mark your calendars: University of Calgary’s completely solar powered car will be on display at the Stettler Elementary School on Monday, May 9 just before lunch time.

The car, named Schulich Axiom, created by the students of Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary will be stopping in Stettler at the first leg of its province-wide journey in preparation for next October’s World Solar Challenge race in Australia.

Stettler will also be the spot where top secret improvements made in the car’s new design will be disclosed to the public.

“Since finishing sixth out of 18 teams in last summer’s American Solar Challenge and winning an award for the car’s mechanical systems, the students – the majority from the Schulich School of Engineering – have spent months radically improving the Schulich Axiom to make it more aerodynamic, lighter, and more energy efficient,” said Jennifer Sowa, editor of the Schulich Engineer magazine.

“The team reconstructed the top shell, installed all new solar cells, redesigned the seat and reduced the car’s total weight from 272 kg (600 lbs) to 160 kg (353 lbs). All this will shave precious minutes off their total race time.”

John Fernando, mechanical engineering manager of the student team that built the car said the first solar car was created at the university in 2004 and the one to be displayed in Stettler would be fourth edition of the solar car, but would still be classified as the third generation.

“The top speed we have taken the car to is 130 km. per hour, although theoretically it could go up to 140 km. per hour, but we never had the open road to take it to that level.”

According to Fernando, there are a total of 250 solar cells, each composed of six or eight modules, providing 1200 watts of power to the car battery.

“Most of the modifications we have introduced were related to the regulations of the races,” Fernando said.

Fernando said the newest version of the car was completely made out of carbon fiber and that it was the most important feature distinguishing Schulich Axiom from similar solar powered cars.

Stressing that they used carbon fiber to reduce the weight to the maximum possible extent, Fernando said they managed this by isolating the fiber from the cells to prevent any possible short circuit happening in the wiring system.

Brigitte Sullivan, the spokesperson for the team preparing for the race, said there was a certain reasoning in choosing Stettler as the starting point for the preparations.

“We do have to get a certain number of hours of driving in our mock race and I think geographically and logistically, Stettler was the best bet for that.”

Schulich Axiom has been taking part in American Solar Challenge (covering only North America) and World Solar Challenge in Australia for the past six years.