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Design, Development and Optimization of Highly Efficient Solar Cars: Gato del Sol I-IV

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4 Author(s)
Mangu, R. ; Electr. & Comput. Eng., Univ. of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA ; Prayaga, K. ; Nadimpally, B. ; Nicaise, S.

Engineering students at the University of Kentucky have designed and built solar powered cars for the 2008 North American Solar Challenge and the 2009 Formula Sun Grand Prix. Gato del Sol III, our most accomplished car, is powered by a solar array of 480 Silicon monocrystalline photovoltaic cells. Maximum Power Point trackers efficiently made use of these cells and tracked the perfect load. The cells are mounted on a fiber glass and foam core composite shell. The shell rides on a lightweight aluminum tube chassis, which is then powered by a 90% efficient brushless DC motor. Gato del Sol IV will be one of the fastest solar powered cars in the world with a top speed of 75 mph. Internally, the car makes use of 168 high density lithium-polymer batteries to account for a 5 kWh pack, enough to travel over 75 miles without sun. A homebuilt battery protection system and charge balancing system ensures safe and efficient use of the batteries. Various electrical sub-systems on the car communicate between themselves via Controller Area Network (CAN). This real time data is then transmitted to an external computer via RF communication for further analysis and on the fly improvements.

Published in:

Green Technologies Conference, 2010 IEEE

Date of Conference:

15-16 April 2010