The sun pierced the clouds, providing a bright start to the American Solar Challenge, a 1,975-mile rally race for solar cars built and designed by university teams around the world.
Team Sunergy, from Appalachian State University in North Carolina, began the race with a win already under its belt. They placed 3rd in the Formula Sun Grand Prix, now they are taking on the Solar Challenge over the next eight days.
“Anything we can do to make electric cars and solar powered cars more viable we want to do anything in our power to try and make that a reality," said Duvey Rudow, a team driver.
The Team Sunergy car is able to maintain of speed of 45 miles an hour, with a top speed of 75 miles an hour. According to the team from École de technologie supérieure, an engineering school in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the challenge isn’t about winning the race, it’s about building better solar cars.
“We don’t have a big competition between the teams. Every one collaborates a lot just to give a lot of input to everybody just to be able to make great cars again and again and improve this competition,” said Technical Director Anthony Riendeau.
This year’s course began in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and will travel to a total of nine National Park sites, honoring the 100th anniversary of the National Park system.
“While we are an agency that is a hundred years old, instead of looking backwards, we are looking forward. One of the things we are interested in is sustainable energy,” said Jennie Vasarhelyi, a Cuyahoga Valley National Park spokesperson.
Here is where the American Solar Challenge will be stopping over the course of the race.
Saturday, July 30th: Start at Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Brecksville, OH with a checkpoint at Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, using partnership property, Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, OH
Sunday July 31st: Arrive at stage stop at George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Vincennes, IN
Monday, August 1: Depart from the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Vincennes, IN with a checkpoint at the Ulysses S Grant National Historic Site, using partnership property, Grant’s Farm in St. Louis, MO
Tuesday, August 2: Arrive at stage stop at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, using partnership property, Republic High School in Republic, MO
Wednesday, August 3: Depart from Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, MO with a checkpoint at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka, KS
Thursday, August 4: Pass through checkpoint at the Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice, NE
Friday, August 5: Arrive at stage stop at the Scotts Bluff National Monument in Gering, NE
Saturday, August 6: Depart from the Scotts Bluff National Monument in Gering, NE and finish at Wind Cave National Park in Hot Springs, SD