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TdS Report #23: Team Profile: SunPacer

There is a sticker on the side of this one-person Solar-Electric Vehicle that
lists all the years it has participated in the Tour de Sol. I think it started
in 1992! At first blush it looks pretty much as it always has: a wedge-shape,
point to the rear, with a wrap-around windshield on the front that lets the
driver see pretty easily. But this year there are some differences.

The first thing I noticed was the dashboard has 8 Volt meters, the plus-minus
type with zero in the middle. There were also 4 temperature gauges and a bunch
of switches. I asked Tim Soine what that was all about. "We got 8 new nickel
metal hydride batteries and we have a voltage meter for each one of them. The
temperature meters are for the batteries, plus the motor temperature. We watch
everything. If it gets too hot we turn on the cooling fans. We ran four
tunnels with fans between each battery to keep them cool."

"We also put a new set of solar panels." The old set was from way-back. They
lost 60 pounds by putting on 80 of the little panels sold for the Junior Solar
Sprints. The Solar Sprints provide a kit of a solar panel and an electric
motor to middle-school classes and then challenges them to create string-
guided sun-powered racers. "We rewired almost the entire car."

Tim said that working on SunPacer was part of his independent study class with
teacher Earl Billings. Earlier Tim built the website for the school and the

I asked Mr. Billings how he uses SunPacer as an instructional vehicle (pun
intended). "I teach a course called Principles of Technology, which is really
an applied physics course. For example we just did a 4 week unit on power and
the SunPacer was perfect. I showed them the Watt meters, Amp meters and Volt
meters and how we were calculating power. It helps their comprehension because
they can see the real thing. And they like working on it, planning new things
and then testing them out."

This year the car's level road speed has increased from 30 to 50 mph. The
steep hill climbing speed rose from 20 to 40 mph. The range has increased from
about 60 to 80 miles.

Vehicle Name SunPacer
Vehicle Number 92
vehicle type category Advanced battery solar electric
Team Name Cato-Meridian HS Tech Team
Organization Cato-Meridian High School Tech Club
City Cato
State NY
new this year? returning team and car
Time to Build 2000 person hours / 14 months / 1.5 years
Who Built class
part of school curriculum? Yes
Vehicle Manufacturer Purpose built
Vehicle Reg Motor Cycle
Vehicle Type Class One Person
Vehicle Type Division Prototype
motor kW peak 4.5 kW
motor manufacturer Advanced DC Motors
motor type Series Wound Brush DC
Energy Storage Manufacturer Deka Ovonics
Energy Storage System PbA NiMH
Batteries series
Battery Deka Ovonics/PbA NiMH
Battery 6 blocks/ series/ $1000
Battery 5000 Whrs/ 36 V/ 450 lbs
battery voltage 36 V
battery blocks 6 blocks
battery watt hrs 5000 Whrs
battery weight 450 lbs
battery cost $1000
control system manufacturer Sev Con
control system type Solid State
charger capacity .9 kW
charger current 25 A
charger input voltage 36 V
charger manufacturer Zivan
charger on board? Off board
charger type Transformerless
Plug Type 5-30P
PV manufacturer Hoxan
PV watts 250 W
Conversion Purpose-Built
body material Aluminum body
frame material Steel frame
Length both L: 15 ft/ 6 in
Width both W: 4 ft/ 10 in
Height both H: 3 ft/ 6 in
# seats 1
Weight pounds 1050 lbs
Mfg GVW 1080 lbs
lbs of persons 190
lbs of cargo 50
brake front type Front Disc
brake rear type Rear Drum
Hybrid Architecture parallel
engine size 1 liter
fuel effeciency 25 mpg
fuel tank capacity 4.5 gal each
fuel tank type Removable
Fuel Type LPG
No of Passengers 1
number of tires 2
tire manufacturer Cheng Shin
tire model P 2.75x17 4 ply nylon tube type
Range miles 70 miles
Program blurb Cato-Meridian H.S. Tech Team, Cato, NY. This is
Sunpacer's ninth straight year competing in the
Tour. During this time, Sunpacer has won its
class several times and has been honored with
many efficiency awards. This years team consists
of crew chief Arron Kolb, driver Ashley
Davenport, chief navigator Tim Soine, backup
navigator Amber Ross and Technology Teacher Earl
Billings. The purpose of the Sunpacer was to
design a one-person commuter propelled by solar

- - - -
The complete set of Tour de Sol Reports for 2002 can be found at:
The complete set of past Tour de Sol Reports can be found at:
- - - -
The above is Copyright 2002 by Michael H. Bianchi.
Permission to copy is granted provided the entire article is presented
without modification and this notice remains attached.
For other arrangements, contact me at +1-973-822-2024 .
- - - -
For more on the NESEA Tour de Sol, see the web page at
- - - -
Official NESEA Tour de Sol information is available from the sponsor,
the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) at
413 774-6051 , and 50 Miles Street, Greenfield, MA 01301 , and
[email protected] . All media enquiries should be addressed to ...
Jack Groh
Groh Associates
[email protected] email
401 732-1551 telephone
401 732-0547 fax
401 952-0886 cell/pager
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