June 4, 2014

University of Calgary Solar Car Team celebrates 10 years of innovation success

Anniversary event highlights the past, present and future of interdisciplinary project

On May 16, students, faculty, alumni, sponsors and industry leaders joined the University of Calgary Solar Car Team to celebrate 10 years of success and growth designing, building and racing solar cars. The event was also an opportunity to display all of the solar cars, including the latest generation, Schulich Delta, for viewing at the TELUS Convention Centre in downtown Calgary.

The first solar car team was established in the fall of 2004 after the North American Solar Challenge (NASC) announced it would end its 4,000 km race in Calgary in July of 2005. Over the past decade, undergraduate students from the University of Calgary participating in this interdisciplinary project have successfully designed and built four generations of solar cars and competed in seven international races.

Outgoing Business Manager and Project Co-Chair Susanna Kubik says the experience of leading the Solar Car Team taught her about teamwork. “It is not the win that defines the success of a team, but how the team can rise from a challenge.”

President Elizabeth Cannon gave the keynote address at the event and highlighted the impact of experiential learning. Cannon was dean of the Schulich School of Engineering during the Solar Car Team’s formative years.

“The student experience outside of the classroom is incredibly important; it is where you get to work in teams; where you get to tackle the big, open, grand challenges, to test limits, work effectively under pressure and have a lot of fun along the way,” says Cannon. “That is what the Solar Car Team – and our Eyes High goal of enriching our students’ learning experience – is all about.”

That experiential learning will continue as the Solar Car Team unveiled their plans for their fifth generation car. The team plans to design and build North America’s first fully street-legal solar-powered vehicle for 2017.

“This innovation pushes the team to new heights,” says Derek Lee, engineering manager and project co-chair. “Our team has been on the forefront of developing new technology and the fifth generation will show even further possibility for solar energy.”

The team is currently improving Schulich Delta to prepare for their return to the World Solar Challenge in 2015.

Visit the Solar Car Team’s website for regular updates, or find them on Facebook and Twitter.