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Clean Power Stanford Solar Car Project

Published on July 2nd, 2013 | by Tim Tyler

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2013 Stanford Solar Car Project “Luminos” Unveiling

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Since 1989, the Stanford Solar Car Project has been empowering students with hands-on experience with building solar-powered cars. The solar-powered cars compete in the World Solar Challenge – a grueling, 2000-mile-long race in the Australian outback.

Stanford Solar Car Project

Image: SSCP via Stanford.edu

The students usually build the solar-powered cars on a two-year cycle and they gain valuable engineering and business skills along the way. Since the program’s inception, students have fostered nine generations of award-winning vehicles, while raising awareness about clean energy vehicles.

This year’s design for the 2013 World Solar Challenge is named Luminos. Previously, the Stanford team used a three-wheel concept, but the Luminos was design with four wheels. The team also developed a custom 97% efficient solar car motor that far exceeds the industry standard of 93%.

The Luminos weighs a mere 375 pounds and can cruise at 50 mph, just on solar power. According to Team Director Wesley Ford, “This year our team focused on improving the total system efficiency of our vehicle through key student-designed innovations while significantly increasing the reliability of our vehicle in the Outback.”



Students spent thousands of hours in design, construction and testing to complete the finished Solar Car Project that received $1.4 million in parts and resources.

If you would like to attend the official unveiling of the Luminos, you can attend the event at the Volkswagon Automotive Innovation Lab on Friday, July 12th, at 5:30pm. Press members and SSCP sponsors are welcome to attend the media preview on Tuesday, July 9th, from 2:00pm to 6:00pm. (If anyone is in the area and wants to cover this for CleanTechnica, let us know!)

For more information, visit: Stanford Solar Car Project

And for a little more fun, below is the making of the 2011 Stanford Solar Car Project “Xenith.”






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About the Author

Holds an electronic's engineering degree and is working toward a second degree in IT/web development. Enjoy's renewable energy topic's and has a passion for the environment. Part time writer and web developer, full time husband and father.



  • beernotwar

    Is anyone building an electric car with built-in solar recharging? I don’t see a car powered solely with solar to be practical since it would not run at night. It needs some kind of storage, even if it gets all its power from solar panels. But if you added efficient solar panels to a plug-in electric it could recharge while driving during daylight hours…at least to some degree…and if PV tech improves could run forever when the sun is out.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Haven’t seen any. Just seems more practical/cost-effective at this point to recharge from a rooftop solar system. Plus, there’s the concern of damage from a car accident.

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