This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 18, 2007

New York Team Takes Early Lead in Dell-Winston Solar Race

Photo of a knee-high, flat vehicle with two front wheels and one rear wheel, all of which resemble bicycle wheels. Solar panels are mounted on the flat top and in its center, the head of the driver is visible in a small protruding bubble-shaped cockpit. Behind the vehicle is a gate structure with signs marking the start of the race, and a person holds a starting flag next to the gate.

The solar car from E.H. Keys Technology Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, leaves the starting gate for the Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge.
Credit: Roddy Parkinson

The Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge kicked off its sixth biennial cross-country solar car race on July 16th, as 11 high school teams left Round Rock, Texas, (just north of Austin) on a nine-day trek to Newburgh, New York. The team from Newburgh Free Academy must be anxious to get home, because they took the lead on the first day by being the first team to drive all 115.6 miles to the stopping point en route to Palestine, Texas. Teams that are unable to complete a leg of the trip end up transporting their vehicles to the stop via trailers, so all the teams start from the same point each day. This year's race includes 704.3 miles of solar racing and 1,281 miles of planned travel on trailers, reaching Newburgh on Tuesday, July 24th. While four teams hail from Mississippi, other teams come from California, Connecticut, Florida, Missouri, New York, Texas, and, for the first time, Puerto Rico. The race Web site features a list of teams, a race route, a blog, and a GPS-driven system to track the vehicles in real time, although so far that isn't really working. See the Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge Web site and the Web site for the Newburgh Free Academy team.