The University of Calgary’s solar car team unveiled their fourth-generation solar car prototype, the Schulich Delta, on Feb. 1. The car is completely solar powered and will be ready to hit the streets this May.
Members of industry and the university administration were in attendance at the unveiling.
The Schulich Delta was designed with practicality in mind. It is more spacious than the team’s previous model, the Schulich Axiom.
Just over 40 students from several different faculties are part of the Solar Team. The Schulich Axiom won several awards, including best Canadian car in the World Solar Car Challenge in 2010. It had three wheels and could reach 130 kilometres per hour.
The Schulich Delta has all of its controls on the steering wheel and only has a brake pedal. Solar panels feed energy into a rechargeable battery.
According to third-year commerce student and project co-chair and business manager of the solar team Susie Kubik, the Schulich Delta has a completely new design.
“It is a radical change from all of our previous generations,” said Kubik. “We decided to take a different route with the Schulich Delta. It will still be a great race car but we also wanted it to be very practical.”
The Schulich Delta will compete this October in the World Solar Car Challenge in Australia.
Kubik hopes the team can maintain the same success with the Schulich Delta.
“We want to maintain our top standing as the top Canadian team in the World Solar Car Challenge and we want to increase our standing in the world,” she said.
When the car is complete, the team will go on a tour of Alberta to test the car and educate Albertans about sustainable practices.
Third-year mechanical engineering student and project co-chair and engineering manager Mico Madamesila expressed excitement for the Alberta tour.
“The tour of Alberta has a two-fold purpose: we want to raise awareness about sustainability and at the same time we want to test the car, get it on the road and see how it fares on open public roads,” said Madamesila.
Madamesila said that projects like the solar car show that sustainable practices are beneficial for technological advancement.
“I think it’s a good way to inform people that sustainable technology is very much alive, that it’s very much capable of replacing the energy system we have now,” said Madamesila. “It’s a way for students to also get some good experiential learning while at the same time it’s a way to have fun and show off our car and hard work to the community.”
Fourth-year natural science student and project communications manager Jillian Stephenson hopes that initiatives like the solar car project will spark more interest in the industry to find eco-friendly solutions.
“We really emphasize the fact that we have to be sustainable, and we have to be looking for more resourceful means to use energy,” said Stephenson. “I think we really do a great job in our community outreach to emphasize that we need to move forward in a more sustainable way.”