OMAHA, NE -- College teams will soon make their way from Nebraska to Bend, racing in solar vehicles, as part of the American Solar Challenge. Event organizer Gail Lueck says college teams must qualify for the rally-style race, "They went through four days of an inspection process we call 'scrutineering.' Those that pass scrutineering were eligible to take the track in the Formula Sun Grand Prix. So the teams that complete a minimum number of laps during the track event are then eligible to go on the road for the American Solar Challenge event. A total of 14 teams successfully completed the qualifier, Thursday, in Hastings, Nebraska.
Each team designs, builds and then tests their creation, prior to the big event, "We have the single-occupant class, which is more the traditional solar car class that just has a single driver in the vehicle. And, we also have the multi-occupant vehicle class, where there are passengers in the vehicle," Lueck tells KBND News, "There are some two-seater cars and there are a couple of four-seater cars. Their scoring is slightly different."
They'll take off from Omaha, Saturday, for the endurance race. Lueck says the route changes each year, and this is the first time it's come to Oregon. "This year’s particular route was chosen with our event partner, the National Park Service, they are celebrating their 50th anniversary of the National Trails System. We’re, of course, starting in Omaha at the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Headquarters. And then we’ll be following portions of the Oregon Trail, Mormon Trail and other trail routes as we head out to Bend, Oregon." It also recognizes the 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail.
She expects it’ll take them nine days to cover 1,700-miles. The final leg takes teams from Burns to the finish line at the High Desert Museum, July 22. They're expected to arrive between 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., depending on traffic, weather and energy-management decisions made by each team. The High Desert Museum will host a free, public event to welcome them across the finish line. Follow their progress at the ASC Facebook Page.
The Innovators Educational Foundation organizes the American Solar Challenge every two years.