The Upcoming American Solar Challenge in July of 2012


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Hi, Every One,

If you enjoyed our coverage of the Veolia World Solar Challenge in Australia last year during October, Oct. 31, 2011 post ( and are interested in seeing solar car race in North America, then keep your calendar open in July of 2012 for American Solar Challenge (ASC),

previously known as Sunrayce.  The American Solar Challenge and North American Solar Challenge, is a solar car race across the United States and Canada.  Teams from universities and colleges of North America design, build, test, and race solar-powered vehicles on a route (from Tulsa (Broken Arrow), OK to Naperville, IL, about 1100 miles from June 20-26 of 2010
and from Dallas, TX to Calgary, Alberta, about 2500 miles from July 13-22 of 2008).

Originally called Sunrayce USA, the first race was organized and sponsored by General Motors in 1990 in an effort to promote automotive engineering and solar energy among college students. At the time, GM had just won the inaugural World Solar Challenge in Australia in 1987; rather than continue actively racing, it instead opted to sponsor collegiate events.

Subsequent races were held in 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999 under the name Sunrayce [year] (e.g. Sunrayce 93). In 2001, the race was renamed American Solar Challenge and was sponsored by the United States Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Beginning in 2005, its name changed again to its present form to reflect the border crossing into Canada and the addition of co-sponsor Natural Resources Canada.  After the 2005 race,

American Solar Challenge started at Austin, TX in 2005

the U.S. Department of Energy discontinued its sponsorship, resulting in no scheduled race for 2007. The race is now sponsored byToyota.   The 1990 and 1993 races had a south-north orientation, intended to roughly match the Darwin-to-Adelaide, Australia, route of the World Solar Challenge. In 1995, race organizers opted for a mostly east-west route from Indianapolis to Colorado. In 2005, the ASC adopted its current route that follows a south-to-north orientation across the United States, then turns to the west upon reaching Canada.

Since 1995, the Race Director has been Dan Eberle, a professor at Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri.

Below are rules obtained from the Wikipedia.  I will keep you posted if there should be any rules changes for this year.


  • Race consists of a series of timed stages between predetermined locations; all teams begin and end each stage in the same location
  • The team with the lowest overall elapsed time wins
  • The total area of all solar cells and related reflectors, etc. must not exceed 6 square meters
  • When the vehicle has stopped, the solar array may be reoriented toward the sun for charging batteries
  • Strict specifications and engineering scrutiny process is provided for vehicle configuration, safety requirements, and other standards
  • Teams in the race are divided into two categories; open and stock
  • Open class — Solar cells over $10 USD per watt (higher efficiency)
  • Stock class — From a pre-approved list of cells that are under $10 per watt
(Previous races also specified different battery technologies for the classes)
This year, 2012, the American Solar Challenge will take place between July 14-21, 2012,  from Rochester, NY to St. Paul, MN, with the scrutineering process taking place between July 6-9, 2012, at the Monticelle Motor Club in Monticello, NY and the Formula Sun Grand Prix taking place between July 10-12, 2012, at Monticello Club in Monticello, NY

written and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker,




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One Response to “The Upcoming American Solar Challenge in July of 2012”

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