Stanford Solar Car Project: Racing on Sunshine

To commemorate the 25th year anniversary of the Stanford Solar Car Project, the Precourt Institute for Energy presents a documentary about the Stanford team’s top-five finish in the 2013 World Solar Challenge – a grueling 2000-mile race across the Australian outback. The documentary features team members, family and industry supporters, including project sponsors Panasonic and STMicroelectronics, as well as Google and Tesla Motors.

Founded in 1989, the Stanford Solar Car Project is a student-run organization fueled by its members’ passion for environmentally minded technology. The team designs, builds, and races solar-powered vehicles to compete in the World Solar Challenge, a major international event held every other year in Australia. In the 2013 World Solar Challenge, the Stanford car, Luminos, placed fourth, the best performance in Stanford history, earning them the title of America’s top solar car team. A new team and a new car will compete in the next World Solar Challenge in October 2015.

Unlike many universities that compete in Australia, the Stanford Solar Car Project consists primarily of undergraduates, providing students a unique opportunity to gain valuable hands-on engineering and business experience, while raising community awareness of the power of solar energy and the need for lighter, more efficient vehicles.

Team members balance their involvement with work and academics, but always remain dedicated to the collective effort of building one of the world’s most efficient vehicles from scratch and competing against other universities from around the world. Members typically join the project with little to no engineering background and gradually build their knowledge while working on a vehicle.

As the documentary shows, coordinating a project of this magnitude requires considerable management and planning, giving students the opportunity to develop vital business skills in an engineering environment. With this approach, the team has fostered nine generations of vehicles, proving that a hands-on education in creative design and execution can produce impressive results.

The documentary is produced by Mark Shwartz, Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford University.

For information about sponsoring the Stanford Solar Car Project visit:

Additional background:
Stanford Solar Car Project:

World Solar Challenge:

Precourt Institute for Energy:

Engineering student Martijn Lammers, part of the team behind the world’s “first solar-powered family car,” claims most vehicles could be powered by the sun in future.

It won’t be long before “people have a solar car on their driveway,” Lammers says in the movie, which was filmed in Eindhoven at Dutch Design Week 2014.

“There’s so much energy from the sun that’s not being used,” he explains. “It’s still quite expensive to build [a solar-powered car], but within about 30 years solar cars could be a realistic way of transportation.”

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