Try Your Hand at Solar Car Racing!
Sometimes the best way to understand what engineers do or to explore how technology works is to try your hand at it! IEEE has an exciting new game you can plan online where players design and race a solar car! The “Solar Car Racing Game” is a great way to have some fun and learn a little about solar energy at the same time.
A solar car is a vehicle which is fueled by the sun’s energy. A solar car has photovoltaic cells in its solar panels’ surface that converts the sun’s energy into electricity. This electricity either runs a battery that powers the car’s motor or powers the motor directly. Today, most solar cars are used for racing — so why not try your hand at a virtual solar car race? In the “Solar Car Racing Game” you’ll select important components of your solar car that can impact its performance such as the battery and tires. You’ll try out your design in both a desert and a racetrack environment and see how it works. You may choose to change your design to improve its performance and then race it again.
If you find you enjoy designing and testing solar vehicles in a virtual environment, you might also want to join in on some real competitions where you can work with other students to create a real solar vehicle. Some suggested competitions include the Junior Solar Sprint Competition, which is a design engineering challenge for students in fifth through eighth grade design and create model solar electric race cars. At the university level, the World Solar Challenge draws teams from all over the world to Australia, where they test their solar car designs in challenging environments. And, the Hunt-Winston School Solar Car Challenge is a closed-track event for high school teams that is held at a motor speedway.