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MIT Unveils 90 mph Solar Racer Answered

A solar-powered car that can go 90 mph? Sweet!

MIT's latest solar race car might look like a funky Ikea table with a hump, but don't laugh. It'll do 90 mph and is packed with technology that may end up in the hybrids and EVs the rest of us will soon be driving.

The university's Solar Electric Vehicle Team, the oldest such team in the country, unveiled the $243,000 carbon-fiber racer dubbed Eleanor on Friday and is shaking the car down to prepare for its inaugural race later this year.

"It drives beautifully," said George Hansel, a freshman physics major at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the team. "It's fun to drive and quite a spectacle."

Eleanor is slated to compete in the tenth World Solar Challenge, a seven-day race across nearly 2,000 miles of Australian outback.



$243,000 Are you kidding? We have the tech do this for $20k

not so much carbon fiber and a little creativity, and yes

The carbon fiber is there to keep the weight down. How would you do that for less, while maintaining structural integrity at 150 kph? I'm not asking rhetorically, I'm curious what material you'd choose that is as strong and lightweight, and still less expensive than a CF composite.

Emm DIY carbon fiber, perfectly possible, granted the styrofoam for the moulding wouldn't be easy to find. It's not that expensive. I imagine you could use some other strong fibers with resin - not to the same effect, but I've seen the effect of various materials fixed in resin, bog standard nylon was really strong...

what about spider spun silk? couldn't we use computers to reprogram a spider to only eat lab food and spray that stuff out? AI could do it...

You do realize the spider silk is, um, string, right? I dont understand how you propose to build a car out of it. I guess teh stuff is sticky enough, but I dont think it woudl have integrity. And just keeping the thousands of spiders needed would cost more than carbon fiber, I think.

A mix of aluminium, steel, and steel cables (minimal steel).

Aluminum is not as strong as carbon fiber composite for the weight. To get the same strength you need more material, which implies more drag for the vehicle. Steel is substatially stronger, but it still loses in terms of weight. You're correct that both of these solutions reduce the cost (not by an order of magnitude, though, probably just a factor of 2-3), but I'm not convinced you can achieve the same performance.

Yes, but if you used 50-50 aluminum and fiber glass then it would be stronger than 1 or the other.

well most cars can go about 130 that's just all your speed meter says. (or am I mistaken?)

but they can go faster than that my dad sais if we had a strait away my 12 passenger van could hit 150 mph.


8 years ago


its not about technology its about demand and production.

look at your PS3, or any console. its 600 dollars the first year and constantly drops as factories that manufacture the parts and assembly them get better at it(better, in this case means Cheaper)

so, look at how many automobiles with a typical internal combustion engine are made each year and look at how many solar cars are made.

thats why they are expensive ,every component is custom machined or fabricated, until something is in mass production will costs go down drastically.

Yes we have teh tech, but not the demand.
Hybrids are the start because unfortunately if its cloudy out these cars dont drive, their batteries (if any) are too small for the average commute to work.

when ya'll tell us how to make it please

I love seeing these every time they pass through Sioux Falls, SD. Close to the middle of nowhere USA, we still have solar resources. Keep up the good work and maybe someday i can go pick up my farmer's daughter in one of these for a price i can afford!

Can I have it?

I'll give you a donut!

sure...but don't mind if it is a bit flatter than normal,you can fold it to the right shape...its the envelope

Beware, someone might think its a spaceship and flip out.

Wow! That solar car is so sleek and alien like design... It is just freaking cool.


I have seen one of these before they say the cockpit gets to be about 100* F i cant see this being 200,000 dollars...


9 years ago

As cool as this car is, I gotta say I'm still rooting for the local boys at University of Waterloo to win! ;)

I wonder if it's dingo-proof?

Dang i dig the looks


9 years ago

A friend of mine is going to MIT in the fall! :D


9 years ago

I love the desin of the vehicle and hopefully it will win the challenge.

Ahhh MIT, always bringing us cool green gadgets and stuff that you can't lay your eye off. So elegant! :D

Gosh, those Aussies had better watch out!