Sunstang University Solar Team Abandons Solar for Near-Production Vehicle

UoWO Sunstang conceptual

In brief: The University of Western Ontario's Sunstang solar team, after 17 years of solar car competitions, switches gears away from solar for a near-production ready concept named for the team.

Vehicle in the news

Make/Model: Sunstang
Manufacturer: Sunstang Team, Univ W Ontario

The word

Sunstang

The team has re-evaluated the solar-powered vehicle engineering paradigm and realized that a saturation point has been reached wherein the cost:efficiency ratio has hit a peak and until new technologies come along with exponentially greater efficiencies than current solar modules, solar vehicle racing has reached a peak.

Shifting from that, the team decided to work on a production model electric car, but first they had to drop the solar panel obsession and instead, look at batteries.

The Sunstang is a concept that uses swappable batteries, made in modules that can be easily changed in a home garage (as well as recharged there). Solar panels couldn't be completely dumped, of course, and appear now as a home charging station's power source.

The team envisions the 3-wheeled, single-passenger commuter to be capable of being easily swapped at home or in service stations with batteries powering the 10.5kW motor. The car would be highway-ready at 83mph top speed and with a 124 mile range per charge (calculated at an average 75mph speed).

Yokohama Tire believes in the concept enough to have donated $10,000 towards its development. A prototype is underway and the team plans to drive it across Canada late in the summer to build exposure.

And so ...

The design is complete and the Sunstang group is now working on prototyping. Note that true to their racing roots, the team calculated a high average speed for the range.

Photo credits: Univ of Western Ontario, Sunstang Team

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