July Update: A New Challenge

Featured, General, Outreach, Texas / Thursday, July 13th, 2023

Just before the end of the school year, we received some unfortunate news.  During the review of the insurance arranged by Solar Car Challenge (SCC) organizers, Highline Public Schools’ risk managers noticed a crucial exception: moving vehicles were not covered outside the Texas Motor Speedway, i.e., in our 1,200-mile cross country trip, student drivers would be effectively uninsured.  ::gulp::  From a safety and liability perspective, the district made a rational (if discouraging) decision to deny the team permission to participate under these conditions. 

NOTE:  After we got the news about the gap in coverage (which led to us canceling plane tickets, hotel reservations, car reservations, etc.), race organizers and insurers were able to renegotiate coverage YEA! but unfortunately too late for us to re-reserve hotels, plane tickets, and rental cars BOO!

While we are sorry not to be able to participate in this year’s SCC challenge, we view the change not as a stop light but rather a change of destination.  We have a phenomenal set of students who have built a phenomenal car that just keeps getting cooler!  

Since the middle of June, Prism Graphics wrapped the car, Hika and her team attached most of the solar panels, and Sockeye took its first powered voyage!  Larsen and Sukhman are refining and debugging the code for the telemetry system, Atticus and Otto are finalizing light wiring and installation, and Hika is soldering and laminating the final set of solar panels 


Next up: Testing!

We are looking into alternatives to the Solar Car Challenge which will still allow us to evaluate Sockeye’s performance.   In the next couple of weeks, we will perform static and low-speed tests at school or in local empty parking lots.  Assuming the car (and people!) perform as expected and we pass our safety checks, we will head to PACCAR Technical Test Center in Mount Vernon to test the car under more rigorous conditions.  In the meantime, we will follow our friends testing their solar cars on the trip from Texas to California.

We are excited to test our car and ourselves in the near future. Stay tuned!

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