Blue Sky Solar Racing team unveils new vehicle

June 28, 2013

Photograph of Blue Sky team prepping for their reveal
Members of the Blue Sky Solar Racing team keep their new solar vehicle under wraps.

Intrepid U of T students unveiled a new solar vehicle they hope will carry them more than 3,000 kilometres across the harsh Australian outback. The car, called B-7, hit the track for the first time at a ceremony at Varsity Stadium Friday.

U of T’s Blue Sky Solar Racing team has been working on the car for more than 18 months in preparation for their ultimate goal: a top-10 finish in the 2013 World Solar Challenge this fall.

Built and driven entirely by students, B-7 features the latest advancements in photovoltaic technologies, a brand new aerodynamic design, and improved vehicle dynamics systems, weighing about 20 per cent less than its predecessor. Due to drastic changes in race regulations this year, B-7 is U of T’s first single-seater, four-wheeled solar car with an upright driver-seating position. At the last race in 2011, U of T placed 24 of 37 teams with their vehicle Azure.

“I’ve never been in the race before, and I don’t know what it will feel like,” said Zhe Gong, ElecE 1T4 and Blue Sky’s electrical team lead. “Right now it feels pretty good.” Gong said the team spent the past five days preparing the solar array for installation, and they “pulled two all-nighters to install the panels.”

Photograph of the B-7 Solar Car
The new solar vehicle, B-7, is revealed for the first time.

The World Solar Challenge begins Oct. 6, 2013 in Darwin, in Australia’s Northern Territory, and snakes south across the continent, ending in Adelaide. Once the team reaches Australia, they will concentrate on testing the car and getting through the qualification rounds. About 50 teams from around the world are expected to participate.

“UofT has a very strong track record in solar racing, dating back to the late 90s. I am particularly proud of this year’s group–they have overcome many challenges, new racing regulations and developed a completely new four-wheel design,” said ECE professor Olivier Trescases, one of the team’s two faculty advisors with MIE professor Kamran Behdinan. “It’s nice to see the students passionately applying their engineering skills on real-world problems. These students represent the very best of Skule spirit: the whole Faculty is behind them and we wish the B-7 success in the upcoming Solar Challenge.”

“The Faculty is proud to support the Blue Sky project,” said Cristina Amon, dean of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. “But more than that, I’m looking forward to cheering the team as it competes with the best in the world in October ‘down under’.”

Media contact:
Marit Mitchell
Senior Communications Officer
The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of
Electrical & Computer Engineering