NU’s solar car fails to qualify for 10-day cross-country race

Elaine Helm and Elaine Helm

When 20 solar cars from universities across the United States and Canada began the 10-day, 2,300-mile American Solar Challenge on July 13 at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, Northwestern’s entry was not one of them.

The team from NU, as well as teams from several other schools, failed to qualify for the race when it did not complete 140 miles in one day on a closed track. Team captain Jeff Owen, McCormick ’03, said NU had mechanical and electrical problems and only was able to complete about 70 miles in the qualifier.

Other teams, including last year’s winner, the University of Michigan, failed one or more of the qualifying tests held at NU’s Ryan Field on July 7-9.

“I just think a lot of teams had trouble getting their cars together and tuned,” Owen said.

Owen said the team plans to make modifications to their car and enter races next year.

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