Solar Cars Pit Stop In Oklahoma

Karen Haubert just spent hours on Oklahoma roads under that Oklahoma sun piloting a car collecting energy from that sun.

"It's hot, it's somewhat claustrophobic, but it's a lot of fun," Haubert said.

Haubert is a member of the team of engineers from Western Michigan, one of 23 teams testing the limits of science in their solar-powered cars.

"It's a labor of love," said John Antonio, the Associate Dean of the OU College of Engineering. "These kids work for over a year preparing, designing, building and now driving (their cars)."

It's the American Solar Car Challenge, an endurance test for solar cars built by engineering students at universities around the world. One car traveled from a university in Iran with a team of 16 students.

"(We are) all mechanical, electrical and control engineers," said Hooman Mirrahimi.

"This is a multi-discipline learning experience," said Gail Lueck, the Event Coordinator. "It's hands-on, it's outside the classroom,and it really focuses all the engineering disciplines to work together."

An orange and black solar car from the "other" OSU is running on 103 volts while on the road. Auxiliary power backs run the computer and other equipment.

"On a very sunny day like this we can go 40-45 miles an hour without draining any energy from the battery pack," said Wilkins White, an engineering student from Oregon State.

That's 45 miles per hour thanks to the Oklahoma sun without burning a drop of fuel.

This pit stop at the University of Oklahoma is part of the 8-day, 1,700 mile road course from Austin, Texas, to Minneapolis, Minnesota. It's also a good chance for future engineers to learn about technology.

"It's cramped, but really cool to look at all this technology," said Espen Ekadis, an 11-year old from Norman.

Ekadis was impressed, but not enough to change his career path.

When asked if he wanted to drive a solar car in the future he responded, "probably not,I'd rather fly a plane."
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