Waterloo Engineering Students Ready 2018 Solar Vehicle
Tom Spendlove posted on December 05, 2017 | 2424 views

Waterloo engineering students are preparing for the 2018 American Solar Challenge, a competition to design and drive solar-powered vehicles in a 1,500-2,000 mile course across North America. Midnight Sun is Waterloo’s team, started in 1988 with the goal of building a solar-powered bicycle. The 2018 competition vehicle will be the twelfth for the Waterloo team, and the group is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund their season.

Midnight Sun’s vehicles have logged more than 50,000 kilometers over the life of the program. Twelve different departments are represented on the team, with a focus on engineering and computer science disciplines. The full team has spent more than 20,000 hours in the last year developing Midnight Sun XII with the goals of a safe, reliable, efficient and user-friendly vehicle. This year’s car is intended to be more like a current vehicle and less like a futuristic landspeeder.

The Solar Vehicle group is the largest student-run team at the University of Waterloo. The three subteams of Electrical, Mechanical, and Business work together to create the 2018 vehicle with coupe styling and a two passenger capacity. Each vehicle boasts a custom solar array that accounts for most of the team’s expenses. Beyond the 2018 American Solar Challenge the Midnight Sun XII will also compete in the 2019 World Solar Challenge.

The amount of design and testing done for any of these competition vehicles is amazing. The webpage detailing the vehicles from 1990 to present is a great look at the history of the team, and gives an even better vision of how the last two vehicles are more like cars instead of spaceships. The team continually engages in community outreach with local schools, conventions and community events. Midnight Sun has great social media presence across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Flickr. The campaign ends on January 3, 2018 and the 2018 American Solar Challenge activities run during the month of July with the Challenge occurring between July 14 and 22 between Omaha, Nebraska and Bend, Oregon.

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