Appalachian State University’s trailblazing solar vehicle team is up to something awesome! Not only have they developed a working vehicle that runs on solar energy and battery power alone, they’re in Wampum, Pennsylvania this week to put it to the test.
The group, known as “Team Sunergy,” is comprised of 22 graduate and undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines at the university, including appropriate technology, industrial design, sustainable design and physics.
Team Sunergy has been working for the last year to create the car, which has 391 solar cells on its roof and contains a 43-pound rechargeable Lithium-ion battery.
The car, named “Apperion,” can travel 150 miles on battery power alone. Although, according to Dan Blakely, the project director for Team Sunergy, the solar power allows the car to travel all day long, without the assistance of a battery.
This week, Team Sunergy and Apperion will participate in the Formula Sun Grand Prix at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex. It’s part of the American Solar Challenge, an international competition where teams design, build and drive cars that can run solely on solar energy and battery power.
The Formula Sun race will focus on each car’s abilities to handle curves, braking and acceleration on a closed road-style course in which they will be competing with other solar-powered vehicles. Teams and cars will be judged mainly on efficiency, although there are other competitions for things like Best Looking Car and Fastest Car.
Solar vehicles from across the globe compete at the FSGP, including teams from Germany, Taiwan, Iran and Puerto Rico. Team Sunergy will be the first and only team from North Carolina to participate in race history. It’s one of only two teams participating from the South and it’s one of few university-based teams in the region with a solar vehicle.
If Apperion qualifies, it will move on to the American Solar Challenge, an 1,800-mile race from eastern Ohio to South Dakota that begins July 30.
Good luck, Team Sunergy!
Pick up a copy of High Country Magazine’s July 2016 edition for a full feature story on Team Sunergy and Apperion.