Winning Solar Race Car Revs Up Biloxi High Students - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

01/29/04

Winning Solar Race Car Revs Up Biloxi High Students

It's no Mercedes or Lexus, but a small car certainly turned a lot of heads when it rolled onto campus at Biloxi High School Thursday morning.

Biloxi High Junior Nathan Kostmayer said "I think this car is very, very cool".

Biloxi High Sophomore Missy Gotte said "That's not something you see everyday".

The unusual vehicle is a solar car made from aluminum, metal, duct tape and panels that soak up the sun. It was built from scratch by students at Houston Vocational Center. That's Houston, Mississippi.

Sherrie Springer is on the Houston Solar Race Team. She pointed to the engine and said "You just take the energy that comes from the sun. The rays come down and hit our panels, and as you can see we have a series of lines that come down under through here which connect down into our power tracers and our battery bank".

Their car can go as fast as 60 miles per hour. All that power helped push their car into the national spotlight. The Houston team has won first place in the Winston Solar Challenge for the past three years.

Springer said "It recently just got back from Australia. We raced from Darwin to Adelaide in the World Solar Challenge. It did really quite well".

The team's success has students at Biloxi High all revved-up. They are also building a solar race car for an upcoming competition.

Nathan got a chance to test drive the vehicle. He said "I did not expect it to go very fast at all. I did not expect that much power in a solar car. I'm really impressed with it".

The Biloxi students also hope to build a winning car. Nathan said "Probably everybody standing out here is enthused in building one and that's good. The more knowledge, the more brain power we get behind it, the better the car we're going to have. Hopefully we'll be able to win a race".

Missy said "It gives us a good idea on suspension and aerodynamics. I think we're going to do a lot better job, after seeing an example or a model".

The Biloxi High School team expects to finish its solar car in time for the Winston Solar Challenge in Dallas in June. Just so you know, a solar car can cost between $10,000 to $1.5 million to build.

by Trang Pham-Bui

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