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ISU Solar Car Team invited to race in Abu Dhabi

solar car team with solar car

The 2013 ISU Solar Car Team poses with its car, Mercury IV.

From its very humble beginnings in 2005, the Illinois State University Solar Car Team has evolved into a world-class competitor. The team has recently been invited to compete with 20 solar car teams from around the world in a 1,200-kilometer race that will start and end in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The first ever Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge (ADSC) will be held January 16–19, 2015, and coincide with the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and the opening of the World Future Energy Summit.

The team recently built a new car, Mercury V, to compete in the American Solar Challenge, a race from Texas to Minnesota that was held in July 2014. Before the race began, the car had gone through and passed all of the required tests. However, a battery fire severely damaged the car.

Although started and housed in the Physics Department, the project has attracted students from a wide range of disciplines and most of the colleges across campus.

For the ADSC, the team will use their previous car, Mercury IV, which finished in second place in the 2013 Formula Sun Grand Prix held at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.  During the next two months, the team will focus on training new comers to the team by dismantling and improving the car, building an all new solar panel array, and fundraising. Although the team is being subsidized by the event sponsors, it still needs to raise as much as $20 000 for travel expenses. If you are interested in making a financial gift to the team, please visit the team’s donation page.