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Solar-powered car race will make a stop in Oklahoma

by Kathryn McNutt Modified: July 20, 2014 at 10:00 pm •  Published: July 20, 2014

Curious spectators can observe solar-powered cars on a cross-country road race when they stop overnight on the University of Oklahoma campus.

OU’s College of Engineering will host the American Solar Challenge stopover Tuesday at the Lloyd Noble Center. Officials expect 20 to 25 university teams — both national and international — and a total of 400 to 500 participants to arrive from about noon through 6 p.m.

OU team members will be there, but they aren’t competing this year, said Jimmy Cannon, engineering practice coordinator.

“We’re redesigning our car. It will be there for people to look at,” Cannon said.

OU first built its solar car about 20 years ago and last raced it in 2008. The redesigned vehicle — about half as long as the original 22-footer — will be back in the competition in 2016, he said.

Members of the Canadian River Cruisers will bring their classic cars to the Lloyd Noble Center to give observers more to see.

“They can see a little bit of the old and a little bit of the new,” Cannon said.

The public also will have a chance to see the solar vehicles before they leave town Wednesday. They will depart beginning at 9 a.m. All should be gone by 10 a.m., he said.

The challenge

The 2014 American Solar Challenge is an eight-day, 1,700-plus-mile cross-country race from Austin, Texas, to St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minn.

The event is typically held every other year during the summer and is open to collegiate solar car teams from around the world. The routes vary, but always are designed to give teams the opportunity to demonstrate their solar cars under real world driving conditions and thoroughly test the reliability of all onboard systems.

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by Kathryn McNutt
Higher Education Reporter
Kathryn McNutt covers higher education for The Oklahoman and NewsOK. Since joining the staff in August 2000, she also has worked as the Breaking News editor, Metro editor and assistant Local editor. A native of Oklahoma City, she graduated from...
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