Luminos — Stanford’s Solar Car

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10 days ago, Tim wrote up a good post on Luminos, Stanford’s solar car for the 2013 World Solar Challenge (a 2000-mile solar car race across the Australian outback). However, the Stanford solar car team just put up a new post on Luminos that has more info (and pictures!) as well as a video of the car facing some tests in a wind tunnel in North Carolina. Here those are (video first, followed by article):

Introducing Luminos

by Nathan Golshan

solar car stanford

Luminos is the Stanford Solar Car Project’s 11th vehicle since our founding in 1989, and has been built to compete in the 2013 World Solar Challenge. Nearly two years of planning, design, fundraising, logistics, building, testing, and dedication have now come together to produce what may be the best characterized and most thoroughly tested vehicle in our project’s history. We challenged ourselves to go back to the drawing board and build a car that was based on sound engineering theory and principles, beautifully straightforward in design and construction, and tested to be the most reliable and efficient vehicle in the history of our team. We can confidently say that we are on the cusp of achieving these goals.

Luminos houses several major innovations under its smoothy understated exterior. For the first time in the history of SSCP, we have designed and constructed our own drive motors – one on each front wheel. These motors have been verified to have a higher system efficiency than the motors that our competition uses by a significant margin, while allowing for a significantly superior mechanical design. Our array was once again designed and encapsulated by members of our own team. It uses monocrystalline silicon solar cells from Sunpower that have one of the highest production conversion efficiencies available in the world today, as well as a 3M-designed antireflective layer that also has excellent aerodynamic properties. The aerodynamic design of the car has achieved a lower tested drag value than many cars that competed under the old, less restrictive rules, and in fact closely rivals the optimum wind tunnel performance of our previous car while being significantly more robust to messy real-world conditions. Finally, our team’s excellent skills in electrical and software design have produced our most efficient, durable, and reliable electrical system to date.

Our progress on Luminos has inspired a cautious but strong confidence in our team’s prospects in WSC ’13. We have accomplished much, but we are nowhere near finished. We’re looking forward to seeing all of our competitors at WSC, and we always appreciate the immense support we recieve from our followers.

We’re excited to unveil Luminos in person this Friday at 5:30pm. Keep your eyes peeled for progress updates as we take the last few steps to having a highly competitive race-ready solar vehicle.

luminos solar power car

luminos solar car speed

Luminos solar car wind tunnel test

luminos solar car

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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2 thoughts on “Luminos — Stanford’s Solar Car

  • I’m curious! Why was a wind tunnel in North Carolina used when you have a wind tunnel practically in your backyard at the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory at Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, CA?

  • Flow similarity difficulties. Ames’ tunnels are not sized for accurate results for real scale automotive tests.

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