American Solar Challenge 2018

The 27 solar car teams listed below (from 8 countries) are on the board for the American Solar Challenge next July. A few big-name teams, like Toronto and Stanford, are sitting this one out (probably because of incompatibilities between the WSC and ASC rules). And sadly, Anderson, UCSD, Principia (who raced at WSC 2017), UC Irvine, Phoenix, UT Austin, Rutgers, UC Riverside, Virginia, Northwestern, Calgary, Purdue, and USC have dropped out.

Recent car unveils include team 42 (Missouri S&T), team 55 (Esteban), team 49 (Ga Tech), team 101 (Eclipse), and team 559 (Onda). There are 10 cars still to be unveiled. Car unveils that have been announced include team 828 (AppState) on 22 June and team 24 (Waterloo) on 30 June. I don’t know about Kentucky, Florida, Illinois St, NJIT, NCSU, or McMaster. WSU and Onda have shipped their cars to the USA, while Cairo, Polytech, UPRM, and Alfaisal have not yet reported shipping their cars. As a warmup to the race, team 9 (PrISUm) and team 35 (Minnesota) held a Midwestern Solar Challenge on 3 June.

Here is the current teams poster for ASC (as with all images on this page, click to zoom):


This teams poster shows the Cruisers in the first two columns (also available with white background).

Here is the route map for the race, based on GPS data from team 42:


Route map, coloured by elevation (from −110 to 4351 m). Departure dates from the stage stops (black dots) at Gering, Lander, etc. will be 16th, 18th, 20th, and finally 22nd for the short stage from Burns.

I will (likely) blog about the race when the time comes. Following qualification at Motorsport Park Hastings, Nebraska, the race will run through the mountains from Omaha, Nebraska (elevation 300 m) to the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon (elevation 1,230 m) via a high point of 2,585 m. Scrutineering will start on Friday July 6th, track racing on Tuesday the 10th, and the road race will run from Saturday the 14th to Sunday the 22nd. Here is the elevation profile for the route (using elevation data from team 42):


Elevation profile for the route. The two highlighted sections have average slopes of 1 in 39.

This year, cars in the competition are required to have four wheels and smaller solar panels, in line with WSC regulations (although “supplemental solar collectors” are permitted, and spraying water is allowed). Composite roll cages are not permitted this year. For the first time, there will be a serious Cruiser class (with 7 vehicles!). Of the other cars, 41% have an asymmetric/catamaran design (including 3 cars from Canada). Apart from Michigan, there appear to be no “bullet cars.”


Cruiser scoring will be roughly as per WSC 2017, with 80% energy efficiency (3rd coloured bar), resulting from dividing person-km (1st coloured bar) by external energy use (2nd coloured bar). A further 20% practicality (grey) is then added. This scoring favours 4-seat cars. There will also be a fixed arrival window. Unlike the WSC, there will (I understand) be partial credit for trailered Cruisers.

Under grandfathering provisions, older cars (including 3-wheel cars) can race at Motorsport Park Hastings (as a separate class) and participate non-competitively in the ASC itself (provided that they passed scrutineering and qualification for one of the previous events). At present, 2 teams (SIUE and Sunstang) are taking advantage of this. Also, 3 teams (Florida, Sunstang, and Alfaisal) plan on attending FSGP only, and won’t join the road race. Teams are currently 62.3% green for pre-event documents. See here for my past race coverage, and check out the official ASC social media at     (click on the symbols).


Some informative pie charts.

In the list below, the small data diagrams show the weight, length, and width of each car, compared to the maxima for its class (for this purpose, the grandfathered cars are treated as part of the Challenger class). The following chart summarises the length and width information:


Summary of reported length and width for cars.

👁 2  US  University of Michigan 

This team came 9th at WSC 2013. They came 4th at WSC 2015. They came 2nd at WSC 2017. They came 1st at ASC 2016. They are bringing their existing car to ASC 2018. It is called Novum, and is a GaAs monohull design. It measures 5 × 1 m and weighs 193 kg. The car arrived back from the WSC in January, and was modified for ASC. February saw a nice review by Car and Driver, and March a scouting of the route. They are very much the favourites to win ASC 2018. Their team number (2) is a long-standing tradition. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 10 green, 5 yellow, 1 red.



photo: Anthony Dekker

Under construction  3  US  Kentucky 

This team came 12th at ASC 2016. They did 80 laps at FSGP 2017. They are building a new car for ASC 2018. It will be called Gato del Sol VI, and will be a symmetric design. It measures 4.5 × 1.74 m. They have a mold, and regularly report progress on YouTube. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 12 green, 2 yellow, 2 red.

👁 4  US  Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

This team came 23rd at WSC 2015. They are bringing their existing car to ASC 2018. It is called Flux, and is an asymmetric design. It measures 4.5 × 1.91 m. They are 3rd favourites this ASC, if they can repeat their past performance. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 16 green (making them one of the four best-prepared teams).

Under construction  5  US  University of Florida (Solar Gators) 

This team did 0 laps at FSGP 2017. They are building a new car for FSGP 2018 (they are, I understand, not planning to attend the ASC itself). It will be a symmetric design. They have molds. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 1 green, 1 grey, 14 red (raising serious doubts as to whether they will actually turn up).

👁 6  US  Berkeley (CalSol) 

This team came 9th at ASC 2016. They did 228 laps at FSGP 2017. They are bringing their existing car to ASC 2018. It is called Zephyr, and is a symmetric design. It measures 4.92 × 1.77 m and weighs 195 kg. They had originally planned to build a cruiser called Tachyon (with plans changing from 2 to 4 seats). Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 13 green, 2 yellow, 1 red.

👁 9  US  Iowa State University (PrISUm) 

This team participated in the WSC 2017 Cruiser class. They came 7th at ASC 2016. They are bringing their existing car to ASC 2018. It is a 4-seat Cruiser, called Penumbra. It measures 4.32 × 1.88 m (making it the shortest Cruiser) and weighs 471.9 kg. The car arrived back from the WSC in December. They made minor modifications for ASC. They held a mock race against Minnesota on June 3, where both cars finished at the same time. They also held their usual SunRun from June 11 to 20. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 14 green, 2 yellow.



photo: Anthony Dekker

Under construction  10  EG  Solar Electric Vehicle – Cairo University Team 

This team is building a new car for ASC 2018. It will be a 2-seat Cruiser, called Horus. They began building the car for WSC 2017 and have a rolling chassis, but to stand any chance of making it to ASC, they really should have completed the car by now. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 2 green, 1 yellow, 13 red (raising serious doubts as to whether they will actually turn up).

Flown  15  AU  Western Sydney Solar Team 

This team came 11th at WSC 2013. They came 10th at WSC 2015. They came 6th at WSC 2017. They are bringing their existing car to ASC 2018. It is called Unlimited 2.0, and is a catamaran design. It measures 4.58 × 1.4 m and weighs 158.4 kg. As with Michigan in 2016, they added a bulge on the side of the car to satisfy ASC regulations. They are supported by Bridgestone, and will run on Ecopia tires. They shipped their car to California on May 14, with the team following by air on 12 June. This ASC marks their first competition outside Australia. They are 2nd favourites this ASC, if they can repeat their past performance. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 10 green, 3 yellow, 3 red.



photo: Anthony Dekker

Under construction  17  US  Illinois State 

This team came 11th at ASC 2016. They did 172 laps at FSGP 2017. They are building a new car for ASC 2018. It will be called Mercury 6. They have not revealed details about the car design, but they reported in 2017 that they had a mold (although they have been silent on progress since then). Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 6 green, 4 yellow, 6 red (raising some doubts as to whether they will actually turn up).



picture credit (old car)

👁 22  US  University of Illinois (Illini) 

This team participated in the WSC 2017 Adventure class. They are bringing their existing car to ASC 2018. It is called Argo, and is a symmetric design. It measures 4.5 × 1.8 m and weighs 224 kg. They are particularly proud of their battery box. The car arrived back from the WSC in December. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 15 green, 1 red.



photo: Anthony Dekker

Under construction  24  CA  Waterloo (Midnight Sun) 

This team did not qualify for ASC 2016. They are building a new car for ASC 2018. It will be a 2-seat Cruiser, called MS XII. They hope to take their car to Australia in 2019. They have a rolling (though not motorised) chassis and a solar panel, and plan to unveil their car on June 30. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 11 green, 4 yellow, 1 red.

👁 35  US  University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project  

This team came 4th in the WSC 2013 Cruiser class. They came 5th in the WSC 2015 Cruiser class. They participated in the WSC 2017 Cruiser class. They came 10th at ASC 2016. They are bringing their existing car to ASC 2018. It is a 2-seat Cruiser, called Eos II. It weighs 379.5 kg. They are particularly proud of their custom motors. They held a mock race against PrISUm on June 3, where both cars finished at the same time. Their team number (35) is apparently derived from the Interstate 35 highway. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 16 green (making them one of the four best-prepared teams).



photo: Anthony Dekker

👁 42  US  Missouri S&T 

This team came 4th at ASC 2016. They did 69 laps at FSGP 2017. They have built a new car for ASC 2018. It is called Independence, and is a catamaran design. It measures 4.45 × 1.58 m. They are particularly proud of their super tiny BMS. They unveiled their car on April 18, although some work still needs to be done. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 16 green (making them one of the four best-prepared teams).

👁 49  US  Georgia Tech 

This team did not qualify for ASC 2016. They did 89 laps at FSGP 2017. They have built a new car for ASC 2018. It is called Odyssey, and is a symmetric design. It measures 4.5 × 1.8 m and weighs 250 kg. They unveiled their car on April 24. Their team number (49) is taken from STS-49, the maiden flight of the space shuttle Endeavour (which was the name of their first car). Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 12 green, 3 yellow, 1 red.

👁 55  CA  Poly Montreal (Esteban) 

This team came 10th at ASC 2016. They did 198 laps at FSGP 2017. They have built a new car for ASC 2018. It is called Esteban 9, and is a compact catamaran design. It measures 3.17 × 1.84 m (making it the shortest Challenger). They unveiled their car on April 23 and did some serious test-driving. Their team number (55) is the year that Western Electric began to sell licenses for silicon PV technology. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 12 green, 1 grey, 3 yellow.

👁 57  US  Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 

This team did not qualify for ASC 2016. They did 57 laps at FSGP 2017. They are bringing their existing car to ASC 2018. It is called NOVA, and is an older 3-wheel design. It measures 4.52 × 1.7 m and weighs 215 kg. For SIUE, the race is an opportunity to farewell a car which they have lightened and given a new array. They are also working on a new battery box. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 13 green, 3 red.

Under construction  86  US  New Jersey Institute of Technology 

This team is building a new car for ASC 2018. It will be a symmetric design. They have been working on their chassis. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 9 green, 5 yellow, 2 red.

👁 89  RU  Polytech Solar 

This team is bringing their existing car to ASC 2018. It is called SOL, and is a catamaran design. It measures 4.18 × 1.91 m and weighs 200 kg. They are particularly proud of the many Russian components in their car and their extensive media coverage. Since they originally built their car for WSC 2017 (although they did not attend), they have made modifications necessary to satisfy ASC regulations, as well as completing work on the electrical systems. They posted a nice photograph of their suspension. The team has visas, and plans to be in the US on July 3, after demonstrating the car on the track at Sochi on June 20. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 6 green, 1 blue, 3 yellow, 6 red (raising some doubts as to whether they will actually turn up).

👁 96  CA  Western University (Sunstang) 

This team did 0 laps at FSGP 2017. They are bringing their existing car to FSGP 2018 (they are, I understand, not planning to attend the ASC itself). It is called Sunstang, and is an older 3-wheel design. It measures 5 × 1.7 m and weighs 275 kg. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 8 green, 1 blue, 1 grey, 2 yellow, 4 red.

Under construction  99  US  North Carolina State University (SolarPack) 

This team is building a new car for ASC 2018. It will be a 4-seat Cruiser. They are particularly proud of their lithium titanate oxide cells. They showed the world a chassis in January but have posted no progress since March. They say that their “solar-assisted vehicle” has a 135 hp (100 kW) motor (compared to, say, 7.5 kW for Bochum’s ThyssenKrupp SunRiser). Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 7 green, 2 yellow, 7 red (raising some doubts as to whether they will actually turn up).

👁 101  CA  ETS Quebec (Eclipse) 

This team came 18th at WSC 2013. They came 8th at ASC 2016. They did 174 laps at FSGP 2017. They have built a new car for ASC 2018. It is called Éclipse X, and is a catamaran design (with the driver on the left). It measures 3.95 × 1.65 m and weighs 150 kg. They are particularly proud of their low weight. They unveiled their car on May 16 and did some serious test-driving. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 16 green (making them one of the four best-prepared teams).

Under construction  116  CA  McMaster University 

This team did not qualify for ASC 2016. They did 177 laps at FSGP 2016. They are building a new car for ASC 2018. It will be called Gen VII, and will be a carbon monoque catamaran design. Facebook shows them busy with construction. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 3 green, 1 blue, 5 yellow, 7 red (raising some doubts as to whether they will actually turn up).

Flown  559  IT  Onda Solare 

This team came 10th at WSC 2013. They came 6th at ESC 2016. They won the 2017 Albi Eco Race and came 2nd in the Evolución class at the 2016 Carrera Solar Atacama. They have built a new car for ASC 2018. It is a 4-seat Cruiser, called Emilia 4. It measures 4.6 × 2.06 m and weighs 320 kg. They revealed their car on 11 June, prior to shipping it (by air) later in the month. They also verified that their barbeque still works. They shipped their car by air on 14 June, and will join it in early July. Their team number (559) is taken from the SS 9, the highway through Bologna, which was once the Roman Via Aemilia (hence also the name of their vehicle). Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 11 green, 3 yellow, 2 red.

👁 786  US  Western Michigan (Sunseeker) 

This team did not qualify for ASC 2016. They did 1 lap at FSGP 2017. They are bringing their existing car to ASC 2018. It is called Farasi, and is a symmetric design. It measures 4.47 × 1.96 m and weighs 300 kg. Their team number (786) is the sequence of digits for S-U-N on old phones. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 9 green, 1 grey, 5 yellow, 1 red.

👁 787  PR  Solar Car UPRM  

This team did 35 laps at FSGP 2017. They suffered some damage from Hurricane Maria. They are bringing their existing car to ASC 2018. It is called El Pitirre, and is a symmetric design. It measures 4.48 × 1.8 m and weighs 272 kg. They are making some changes to the car in light of the new rules, and hope to ship their car in late June. Their team number (787) is the main telephone area code for Puerto Rico. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 4 green, 1 blue, 1 grey, 3 yellow, 7 red (raising some doubts as to whether they will actually turn up).

Under construction  828  US  Appalachian State University (Sunergy) 

This team came 6th at ASC 2016. They did 218 laps at FSGP 2017. Members participated in WSC 2017 with the Antakari team, and they hope to take their new car to WSC 2019. They are building a new car for ASC 2018. It will be a 2-seat Cruiser, called ROSE. It measures 4.8 × 2.1 m. They are particularly proud of the cup holders. They have a roll cage, have been sanding molds, and plan to reveal their car on June 22. They posted a nice photograph of their suspension. Their team number (828) is the telephone area code for western North Carolina. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 12 green, 2 yellow, 2 red.

Under construction  966  SA  Alfaisal Solar Car Team 

This team is building a new car for FSGP 2018 (they are, I understand, not planning to attend the ASC itself). It will be called AREG-SC1, and will be a symmetric design. They appear to have no social media posts yet, but they are sponsored by Boeing. Their team number (966) is the national telephone prefix for Saudi Arabia. Current ASC 2018 pre-race document status is 7 green, 2 grey, 6 yellow, 1 red.

This page last updated 11:58 on 17 June 2018 AEST


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