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Cars Solar Decathlon 2015

Published on May 27th, 2014 | by Amber Archangel

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Solar Decathlon 2015 Adds Electric Vehicles & Charging

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May 27th, 2014 by  

Originally published on 1Sun4All.

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2015 will highlight sustainable transportation with the addition of “Commuting” as one of its 10 contests, writes Carol Laurie for the Department of Energy, Solar Decathlon.

Designed to demonstrate how clean energy can power not only houses but also lifestyles, the Commuting Contest challenges student teams to operate an electric vehicle charged from their house solar electric system.

New Commuting Contest Drives Clean Energy Lifestyles

For Solar Decathlon 2015, we want to challenge teams further by requiring them to power not only their energy-efficient house but also their transportation,” said Richard King, Solar Decathlon director. “The addition of the Commuting Contest expands the competition from a house to a household and demonstrates the power of clean energy lifestyles in and beyond the home. –Richard King, Solar Decathlon director.

Solar Decathlon 2015

For 2015, the multidisciplinary decathletes must design with a car in mind and integrate the charging system into the house. These vehicle-to-building integration solutions must be aesthetically pleasing, functional, and convenient. Full contest points are awarded for driving 25 miles or more in two hours or less each day during the competition. Reduced points are earned for driving less than the required number of miles. All driving will take place on public roadways in or around the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. | Photo courtesy of Solar Decathlon

Vehicles used in the 2015 Commuting Contest must be fully electric—representing zero-emission transportation to complement the net-zero houses. All vehicles used by the teams must be commercially available; have four wheels; seat at least two individuals side by side; and be licensed, registered, and insured. The addition of the Commuting Contest provides terrific new sponsorship opportunities for electric vehicle and charging equipment manufacturers and distributors.

If your company or dealership is interested in sponsoring one or more student teams by providing an electric vehicle or charging equipment, please contact the teams directly. If you would like to become an event sponsor and partner with the Department of Energy in the award-winning Solar Decathlon, please contact Richard King. See the Sponsor section of our website for additional information.

Fans of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, take note: Solar Decathlon 2015 will be held October 8-18, 2015, at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California.

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About the Author

-- I am an artist, painter, writer, interior designer, and graphic designer, constant student of many studies and founder of 1Sun4All.com. Living with respect for the environment close at hand, the food chain, natural remedies for healing, the earth, people and animals is a life-long expression and commitment. As half of a home-building team, I helped design and build harmonious, sustainable and net-zero homes that incorporate clean air systems, passive and active solar energy as well as rainwater collection systems. Private aviation stirs a special appeal, I would love to fly in the solar airplane and install a wind turbine in my yard. I am a peace-loving, courageous soul, and I am passionate about contributing to the clean energy revolution.



  • spec9

    I wonder if inverter manufacturers should start building in charging systems. That way, you could skip the DC to AC and AC back to DC when the EV has a DC charging port.

    • Matt

      “Comes a time” as more EVs and more home battery storage pop up I think you will see direct DC options and options to disconnect from the grid when it goes down become at least options.

  • spec9

    I am VERY glad to see this expanded. As it was, the solar homes were already being net energy producers so why not add some additional load? Heck my solar PV system generates more net electricity than I need for my house and electric car. (Though I do still use a fair amount of natural gas . . . I’m going to work on that situation.)

  • SecularAnimist

    I attended the Solar Decathlon some years back, and every house had a battery-electric Think City car attached. I talked to some of the participants and if I recall correctly, they said that a requirement of the competition was to generate enough electricity to charge the car. So EVs have been part of the Solar Decathlon for a while, although it looks like the requirements have been changed to reflect the changing EV market.

  • anderlan

    Given contestant budgets, I foresee iMievs, iMievs everywhere. If the LEAF is slightly under powered and under ranged for most Americans’ taste, the iMiev is even slightly moreso. But it’s also reclaimed its crown as cheapest national market EV, so I think it is going to be used by most contestants. Not surprised to see it pictured. :)

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