Chassis Build On its Way

Design, General / Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

The RAHS Green Energy Team has been hard at work constructing the new and improved chassis for this year’s race!

We started the build process by creating a jig to ensure the chassis is in accordance with our design specifications and the Solar Car Challenge safety requirements. Alignment of core structural members was key to making a chassis that was strong, balanced, and most importantly, safe for the driver. Welding the chassis together is a large task in and of itself. Students of all ages have been trained to weld with both MIG (Metal Inert Gas) and TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welders in anticipation for this major milestone.

Green Energy Team member Teddie Blahous (10) welds a bracket to attach the horizontal tube. 

The car is built around two 70” horizontal steel tubes that act as primary structural support for the car and mounting points for square tubes that make up the vast majority of the car’s profile. Our goals for the chassis are to reduce weight by increasing the attention to detail in the design process. This is reflected in the way we build the car, as we are opting to take a more measured approach to the manufacturing process. Currently, our predicted weight is ~400 pounds, which is about one half the weight of last year’s car!

Another significant milestone we’ve reached is the final attachment of the seat. The structural and design team took considerable attention to the accommodation of all qualified drivers on the team. Alignment and adjustability were key to creating an adaptable cockpit that not only fit within the race’s rules, but was comfortable enough for 1½ – 2 hours of driving in the Texas summer heat.

Nigel Barnett (11) and Hailin Truman (9) discuss the spacing for the driver before installing the driver’s seat.

The next step is to attach the car’s diagonal crossbars in order to make the car more structurally sound, as well as provide numerous attachment points for the car’s key electrical components: the main battery, maximum power point trackers (MPPT’s), the motor controller, and of course, the solar array. 

As a team, we’re excited to take on the challenges ahead. This is a crucial point in the car’s progress, and we couldn’t be more enthusiastic to continue. We are thankful for the continued support of our sponsors, Green Energy Team families, and community partners in this effort.

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