Student designers take solar car on road trip

Dozens of B.C. high school students and the general public will get a close look at a solar car this summer as UBC's Solar Car Project hits the road with an educational exhibition.

The project team first exhibited the car and its three major components -- shell, frame and solar panel -- June 12 at UBC, with the goal of stimulating interest among high school students in science and engineering. Project members reviewed the work that went into creating each component and shed light on the science and teamwork involved.

Trips aimed at giving the public a glimpse of the solar technology are also planned for Powell River, Hope and Victoria.

Project founders Matthew van Wollen and Andrew Booth, who are both entering their fifth year of Engineering Physics, said the car represents a remarkable effort involving more than 20 UBC science and engineering undergraduate students.

"We had students from just about every engineering discipline at UBC working on this project," van Wollen said.

The team has raised $70,000 towards the project since September 1996, with major sponsor Westcoast Energy donating $20,000, and UBC's President's Office contributing another $10,000. The car is an early prototype of what will eventually evolve into a race car for competition in the 1999 Sun Race in the U.S.

Individuals are invited to "adopt a cell" with a $10 donation. If all the solar cells are adopted, 732 donors will have their names displayed on the solar panel.

For more information or to contribute to the project, please call 604-822-0925.