Who Are We?
The Oregon Solar Car Team (OSCT) is an experimental project revolving around the design, construction, and management of a fully functioning, fully scaled, solar-powered racing car. The team is entirely made up of high school students, and is coached by Tom Stueve, a science teacher at Trinity Lutheran High School. OSCT is the only high school solar car team in the Pacific Northwest, and has operated out of Bend, Oregon, since 2007. The team has constructed two separate cars (Heliocentric I and II), with a third on the way (Lumidos). OSCT competes biennially in the Solar Car Challenge and has placed 4th twice and 5th once. All high school students are welcome to join the team, and experience is not required in any extent.
How Are We Unique?
OSCT takes a different approach to solar car design. While most teams choose to pursue the tried, true, and tested solutions, OSCT is not afraid to try new things. We are known for being the lightest car in our division (at just under 300 pounds), while still having the largest surface area possible. Our car is entirely designed and built from composite Carbon Fiber. Everything from the frame, to the body, to portions of the mechanical system are built from composite, resulting in an extremely lightweight car. We also pursue new and exciting possibilities for our motor, our solar panels, and our batteries. Whether it be a motor designed for use on military drones, or hub wheels built by a single man in Croatia, we are not afraid to put our victory on the line in the name of pushing the envelope for what is possible. We have, and will continue to, prioritize scientific advancement over our certain victory.
Meet The Cars
Oregon Solar Car Team has built two cars to date, with a third on its way. Both of our creations speak on behalf of the desires and goals of each team at the time when the car was being constructed. With Heliocentric, the car was more of a test run than a fully fleshed-out product. We used this opportunity to see what our team was capable of, and to firmly plant our feet in the ground. Following our first race at the Texas Motor Speedway, we were pleasantly surprised with our success, with a tool belt full of wisdom, ready to begin our second car.
When development for Heliocentric II came around, the team was presented with several unique and incredible opportunities. First and foremost, Oregon State University’s Solar Vehicle Team (OSUSVT) was able to donate their molds for us to build our body, and Boeing donated enough carbon fibre to construct our car. These opportunities allowed us to construct one of the lightest solar cars, of this size, ever.
How Does The Car Work?
Our car is an electrically powered vehicle, meaning it requires no liquid or solid fuel to run, and creates no emissions. The difference between our car and a normal electric car is that our vehicle is solar-powered, meaning that it receives all its power from the sun. As a result, we never have to plug in to charge, and as long as there is sunlight, we can go! Our readings and calculations show that with Heliocentric II, we can travel at 20mph (32 km/h) forever, as long as the sun is shining. We also have several small batteries on the car, in order to create a buffer if the car drives in the shade, or if a cloud passes overhead. The basic rundown of our drivetrain is: