Middle School Students Design, Build, And Race Solar Cars

Jun 8, 2014

The race begins!
Credit Desmond O'Boyle

Solar powered cars? There may be problems driving at night, but during a perfectly sunny day in Eugene Saturday, middle school-ers tried their models out during the annual Solar Challenge.

Will Holt, Aodhan McGlynn, and their solar powered race car.
Credit Desmond O'Boyle

The competition held at Cal Young Middle School, is sponsored by the Eugene Water and Electric Board and featured about 250 students. Cars were entered into four categories: Speed racing, a hill climb, and art and science concept cars. Tim Whitley is EWEB's grant coordinator. He says the project increases awareness of alternative energy and gives kids a hands-on opportunity.

Whitley: Instead of just a textbook and [kind of] dry concepts, they can actually put it them work and see the results of their application of these concepts right away."

Spencer Butte students Will Holt and Aodhan McGlynn entered their model in the speed race.

A student gears his car up for the hill climb event.
Credit Desmond O'Boyle

Holt and McGlynn: "Pretty much it works because we got the batteries hooked up to a switch that's hooked up to the motor. And then the switch is also hooked up to the solar panel. So it has both battery and solar power. We went for a [an] 'arrow design,' because we were thinking how far it could travel if you shoot it out of a bow."

The EWEB solar challenge has grown considerably since it first started 17 years ago. It used to only include only 4J, but now includes hundreds of students from surrounding districts.

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