MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team Introduces "Eleanor"
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Unlike its earlier versions, the new vehicle named "Eleanor" allows the driver to have a more comfortable seating position at the wheel as it is taller than the older models.
"There's no better project for a young guy who wants to do aerodynamics, all the way from conception to design to construction," confessed David Sanchez, a senior in Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics who leads the team. He has been working on the project for more than two years and he can surely be proud of the results.
The electronic systems and the design of the car have been improved, but it has exactly the same drag area as the earlier versions. Having six square meters of monocrystalline silicon solar cells, the vehicle could be driven at 55 mph all day provided it's sunny outside. In case it's not, there is always a back-up solution. The producers claim that "Eleanor" can run from Boston to New York City when its batteries are fully charged.
Fiona Hughes, a senior in mechanical engineering and business manager of the team, spoke about her experience in the project and described it as valuable for "making decisions as a team that satisfy everyone."
"I'm interested in working in the area of alternative energy in transportation," she says and working on the team has helped her toward that goal.
More importantly, "Eleanor" will compete in the World Solar Challenge race across Australia in October this year. Because they want to score a good result, the team is going to "train" their new solar-powered car across the United States in the summer.
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