Solar Car Race Rolls Through the Metro

While most of us were trying to ward off a hit from the sun on Friday, one downtown crowd was soaking it up like a science.

You might have noticed the bizarre traffic in the form of solar cars up from Texas, bound for Minnesota. College students design, build and drive them.

Michael Ellis, from the University of Minnesota said, "Two days ago, it was really cloudy so we had to go 30 to 35 miles-per-hour but then today was really sunny so we were able to go 50 miles-per-hour."

But if you're waiting for the solar-powered cars to arrive in downtown Omaha there's no shame in the shade. Even solar panels need a moment to cool off.

The University of Michigan’s Arnold Kadiu said, "As solar panels heat up, they become less efficient and make less power. So the water helps it cool down and make more power."

In an age where we already have fully electric cars on the road, how close are we to seeing solar panel vehicles during a commute?

Ellis said, “As for solar powered cars, regular ones, I'm sure we'll have a couple. I'm not sure if they'll be common.”

As it stands, the University of Michigan is first in the road race. The University of Minnesota is second. Bragging rights for sure but this is really a mobile classroom. For example, one student is not just the driver but studying aerospace engineering and doing so in the heat.

The teams spent the night in town and then departed around 9 a.m. this morning.


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