Only in MIT... a Solar Racecar, a DIY Segway, What Else?

November 24, 2009
The Massachusets Institute of Technology (MIT) solar  Electric Vehicle Team team recently unveiled a $243,000 solar carbon-fiber racer. The car dubbed the Eleanor is being prepared for an inaugural Endurance race later this year. Eleanor can top out at 90 MPH.

Here is some information from the Solar Vehicle Team's page at MIT:

Seating angle

In previous years, solar car drivers have had to lay down in their vehicles to drive. This allowed teams to minimize the thickness of the cars, which lowered the aerodynamic drag. To bring solar cars closer to commercial passenger cars, a new regulation requires that the driver is seated upright: the seat back must be less than 27 degrees away from vertical. The SEVT has had to rethink the shape of the aerodynamic car body and the layout of items within the car in order to comply with the new rules.

Steering wheel

Eleanor's steering system, like Tesseract's, will use a rack-and-pinion steering mechanism to connect the driver input to the wheels. But while Tesseract's drivers used handlebars to steer, Eleanor will feature a conventional circular steering wheel.

Fixed fairings

For the first time in the history of the SEVT, the car features fixed fairings. Fairings fixed and integrated into the body design permit lower drag, greater reliability, and allow the car to take advantage of crosswinds to help propel the car forward.

DIY Segway

A typical Segway can cost more than $5,000 but some students have managed to build one for less than $1,000. Just like the  trademarked Segway, the MIT  device can balance itself as the rider uses their bidy to steer the device in the direction that they want to go. The machine is comprised of lightweight, inexpensive aluminum and lexan plastic for the majority of the body.

Read more about this amazing device at the team's homepage at MIT.

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