American World Solar Challenge








The American Solar Challenge (ASC) is a competition to design, build and rayce solar-powered cars in a cross-country event. In 2005 there will be a special edition of ASC, the 2005 North American Solar Challenge. Teams will compete in a solar vehicle rayce from United States through Canada! To learn more about this, please visit the 2005 North American Solar Challenge page.


July 11—As many as 40 race cars will leave Chicago July 15 in the first-ever attempt to travel America's historic Route 66 without spending a penny on gasoline. In a year that has seen unpredictable energy and gasoline prices, these drivers are betting that sunshine will take them all the way to Los Angeles, a feat that has never been tried in the 75-year history of the highway.


The cars are part of the American Solar Challenge, the first U.S. international solar car race. The race is an educational sporting event in which university teams, companies, and clubs from around the world compete to build and race solar-powered cars across the country.

The American Solar Challenge demonstrates the potential of renewable energy," said Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. "In the future, with the Department of Energy's research efforts into promising technologies, renewable energy can contribute to our nation's energy supplies."


The race begins at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and follows what remains of Route 66 through Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. The 2,300-mile journey ends in Claremont, California, on July 25.  "The race challenges young engineers and scientists to find new ways to solve energy and transportation problems. Participants get excellent practical education through building their own cars and completing the race," said Race Director Dan Eberle.


Gasoline is not a concern for race drivers. The cars are propelled by electricity that's generated by sunlight. No external power source can be used to charge batteries. Instead the racers use solar, or photovoltaic, cells to convert sunlight into electricity. That means weather and energy management will play an important role in the race. The more sunlight available, the faster the cars will run and the more energy can be stored in their batteries. But in any weather, the teams must make strategic energy management decisions to maximize their sunlight "fuel."


Typical aerodynamic designs for the one-person vehicles make them look more like spacecraft on the "Star Wars " movie set than conventional passenger vehicles. The cars typically are low, sleek, and colorful, with solar cells covering much of the car body. "It will be fascinating to see the solar cars pass by some of the old Route 66 icons," said Mike Turrentine a member of the University of Missouri-Rolla race team, which won the 1999 SunRayce solar car race. "We'll see firsthand how transportation technologies have changed in the last 50 years."


The American Solar Challenge is the longest solar car race in the world. Solar racing as a sport has been around for more than 10 years with race events conducted regularly in the United States, Australia and Japan. Previous solar car races in the United States have been along routes from Florida to Michigan; from Washington, D.C. to Florida; from Indiana to Colorado; and from Dallas to Minneapolis.


The American Solar Challenge race cars can be tracked on the Internet at July 15-25 through use of a global positioning satellite system that will pinpoint the location of participating cars. Daily race results also will be posted at . The car with the fastest cumulative time from Chicago to Claremont will win the Challenge. The race is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), EDS, and Terion.


Real-time tracking data will be available through Terion's unique Web software. Knight Transportation and Terion are sharing the underwriting for the vehicle tracking system.

ASC's mission is to advance renewable energy and electric vehicle technologies, promote educational and engineering excellence, encourage environmental consciousness and teach teamwork. The race provides hands-on experience for students, allowing them to build their technical skills for the 21st century marketplace.







The American Solar Challenge race cars will pass through the following checkpoint locations. Dates are approximate because of the nature of the race:


July 15-16 Springfield, Ill. - Lincoln Land Community College
July 15-16 St. Louis, Mo. - EDS Building
July 16-17 Rolla, Mo. - University of Missouri-Rolla
July 17 Neosho, Mo. - WalMart
July 17-18 Tulsa, Okla. - Air and Space Center
July 17-18 Edmond, Okla. - University of Central Oklahoma
July 18-19 Sayre, Okla. - Southwest Oklahoma State University
July 18-20 Amarillo, Texas - Don Harrington Discovery Center
July 18-20 Tucumcari, N.M. - Mesa Technical College
July 19-21 Albuquerque, N.M. - University of New Mexico
July 19-22 Gallup, N.M. - Cultural Center
July 19-23 Flagstaff, Ariz. - Northern Arizona University
July 20-23 Kingman, Ariz. - Powerhouse Visitor Center
July 20-25 Barstow, Calif. - Barstow College
July 25 Finish: Claremont, Calif. Downtown at Yale Avenue




Recent Updates

Online Regs Question Form  ASC2005 Kickoff Conference info  ASC2003 History with photos, standings, awards, press releases, and more.


Visit a Team Website

South Bank University in London, UK.





ASC Regulations (PDF) Version Date: March, 2003
ASC Qual Regs (PDF) Version Date: May, 2003
Official Interpretations Keep up to date with official regulation interpretations - they are considered amendments to the Regulations.
ASC2003 Stock Class Approved Batteries
ASC2003 Stock Class Approved Solar Cells
Regulation Questions Looking for an explanation of a regulation? This form will submit your questions to the Regulation Committee.
Battery & Solar Cell Approval Forms
Roll Cage Sketch Roll Cage Sketch instructions. Submission deadline is September 1, 2002.
Structural Report Structural Report instructions (pdf). Submission deadline is April 1, 2003.
Scrutineering Instructions (pdf)
Getting Started Technical Resources for New Teams.
Battery Workshop Info (pdf) Battery information from ASC 2001 Workshop.
Lithium Battery Information (pdf) Additional information for teams using Lithium batteries.
Lithium Control Information (pdf) Control information for teams using Lithium batteries.
Lithium Battery Information (pdf) Cell Equalization Methods for Lithium Batteries.
Lithium Battery Information (pdf) Effect on Vehicle Performance of Extending the Power Region of Electric Motors.


PO Box 30
Freeman, MO 64746
Fax: 816 - 250 - 5430


Rayce Logistics & Operations
Contact: Andrea Pagee
Team Coordinator
Contact: Kate von Reis
Toll Free: 800 - 606 - 8881

Media Relations
Contact: John Horst
Tel: 303 - 275 - 4709
Regulations / Technical Committee
Contact: Wayne Watson
Formula Sun Director
Contact: Dan Eberle
Tel: 816 - 899 - 5511



American Solar Challenge     World Solar Rallye - Japan    Sunrayce


Related Events and Links       Formula Sun Grand Prix       Solar BikeRayce USA






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Aristotle Uni of Thessaloniki, Helios


Faculty of Engineering

Arizona Solar Racing Team - USA

Arizona Solar Racing Team

Auburn University

Sol of Auburn

Sol of Auburn

Aurora Team, Australia


Aurora Vehicle Association

Bochum Solar Car Team

Das SolarCar der Fachhochschule

California Poly S University

SLO Burn  Sidewinder

San Luis Obispo

Clarkson Uni Solar Car Team, USA

The Solar Knights

Delft University - Holland

NUNA I & II 2003

Dell Winston School

The Hunter

Solar Car Challenge

Desert Rose, Northern Territory Uni


Drexel SunDragon Home Page

École de technologie supérieure Quebec

Eclipse V (5)

Éclipse Vehicular Solaire 

École Polytechnique de Montréal


Eko-Auto  Poland


Electron Analytic Corporation

Dark Horse

EAC Skunkworks

George Washington University

George Washington Uni Solar Car

Georgia Institute of Technology

Solar Jackets

Solar Jackets

Heliodet, Germany


Heliodet, Solar Car Team

Helios - Lille, France

Hélios IV

Hautes Etudes d'Ingénieur

Honda Car Company


Illinois State University

Surya, Ratha, Mercury

Illinois State University Team

Iowa State University


Team PrISUm

Jonasun  Japan


Solar Car Paviion

Kansas State University


Solar Car Racing Team

Los Altos Academy of Engineering

Los Altos Solar Car Team

Massachusetts Institute of Technology



McGill University Monteal, Canada


Team iSun

McMaster University


McMaster Uni Solar Car Project

Messiah College Grantham, Penns

Genesis II

Genesis II Solar Racing Team

Michigan State University


Solar Racing Team

Michigan Technological University

Solar Car Team

Minnesota S Uni-Mankato/Winona S Uni

Minnesota Solar Car Team

North Dakota State University

The Double Deuce

Sunsetters - Solar Race Team

Northwestern University


Northwestern University

Nuon Solar Team, Netherlands

Nuon 3

Het Nuon Solar Team

Osaka Sangyo University, Japan

OSU model S

Solar Car Team

Prairie View A&M University


Sun Panthers

Principia College

RA 6

Principia College Solar Car Team

Purdue University


Purdue University Solar Racing

Queen's University Canada

Radiance  Gemini

Queen's Solar Vehicle Team

Red River College 

Red River Raycer

Red River College Solar Car Team

Rice University

Rice University

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Rose-Hulman Solar Car Team

Southern Illinois Uni Edwardsville

Cougar Cruiser

Southern Illinois University

South Bank University, UK

Mad Dog

South Bank Mad Dog Team

South Dakota School Mines & Tech

Solar Motion

South Dakota Solar Motion Team

Southern Taiwan University Tech

Southern Taiwan Solar Team

Stanford University


Stanford Solar Car Project

Tamagawa University - Japan

Tamagawa Solar Challenge Project

Team Futura, Italy


Team Futura

Team SunLake - Japan

Phaethon model

Team SunLake TOYOBO

Texas A&M University

Columbia Sunraycer

Texas A&M Motorsports Team

The Power of One  - Toronto


The Xof1 solar car team

Tufts University


Nerd Girls

University of Alberta

University of Alberta Team

University of Arizona


Solar Racing Team

University of Calgary


UC Calgary Solar Car Team

University of California-Berkeley


California Calsol Team

University of Kansas

Solution, CATalyst

KSU Solar Car Racing Team

University of Kentucky

Gato del Sol II

Solar Car Team

University of Massachusetts 

Spirit of Mass 413

Lowell Solar Racing Team

University of Michigan


University of Michigan

University of Minnesota

Borealis III

U of M Solar Vehicle Project

University of Missouri Columbia

Suntiger VI

The Mizzou Solar Car Project

University of Missouri Rolla

Solar Miner V

Solar Minor Car Team 

University of North Dakota

Subzero 3

Team SubZero

University of Ontario Institute of Tech

UOI Solar Vehicle Team

Uni of New South Wales SCR Team

UNSW Sunswift III

New South Wales SCR Team

University of Patras, Hermes

Solar Car Team

University of Pennsylvania


Penn Solar Racing

University of Queensland


Queensland Solar Team

University of South Australia


SA Solar Car Consortium

University of Texas at Austin

Solar Steer

Solar Vehicles Team

University of Texas at El Paso



University of Toronto

Blue Sky

Blue Sky Solar Racing

University of Toulouse


Heliotrope Solar Car Team

University of Utah 


Vehicle Design Team Utah

University of Virginia


UVa Solar Car Team

University of Waterloo

Midnight Sun VIII

Midnight Sun Solar Race Team

University of Western Ontario


Sunstang USP Solar Car Team

USP Solar Car Team

USP Solar Car Team

Western Michigan University

Sunseeker 05

W Michigan Solar Car Team

Yale University

The John Lee

Team Lux





American Solar Challenge is a solar car race across North America. Originally called Sunrayce, organized and sponsored by General Motors in 1990, it was renamed American Solar Challenge in 2001, sponsored by the United States Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Beginning in 2005, it is now called North American Solar Challenge with the addition of co-sponsor Natural Resources Canada. It is customarily held once every two years in the summer, though there was a three year gap between the first two races. Teams from universities in the United States and Canada compete in a long distance test of endurance as well as efficiency, driving thousands of miles on regular highways.


The first ever winner was the University of Michigan Solar Car Team's Sunrunner, with an average speed of 24.7 mph over an 1800 mile route.


In 2005, the longest race so far, the route covered 2494.9 miles, taking the teams from Austin, TX, USA to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Won by the University of Michigan for the fourth time with an average speed of 46.2 mph, the 2005 race was the most hotly contested ever. The University of Minnesota came in second, only 11 minutes and 52 seconds behind after 54 hours of racing. The lead teams often drove 65 mph (the maximum allowed), but were slowed by rain in Kansas, and 20 mph headwinds in Canada.








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