Purdue’s Celeritas: A New Venture For The Thee-Time Winners Of Shell’s Eco-Marathon
The Americas edition of "Shell Eco-marathon," a competition for high school and college student teams from around the globe to design, build and test energy efficient vehicles, will take place April 14-17 in Houston. One of the most talked about entries is the Purdue University solar car, designed and built by students.
For the last three years, the Purdue Solar Racing Team has won the marathon's solar-powered car category with their car, "Pulsar." With achievements such as 4,913 miles per gallon, the team has already broken the record for this event. This year, however, the team will enter a new car, "Celeritas," which they announced April 1 during a banquet.
Celeritas is a single-seat vehicle with a cruising speed of 30-40 mph and a top speed of around 60 mph. Made primarily of a lightweight material of carbon-fiber sheets sandwiched around a honeycomb center for strength, the vehicle weighs a mere 275 pounds approximately. Over 200 photovoltaic cells charge 48 lithium iron phosphate batteries to power a motor that drives one of the rear wheels using sunlight converted into electricity.
By entering Celeritas in the solar "urban concept" category, the team will now compete in a category said to be more challenging than the category in which the team has competed during previous years. According to Ted Pesyna, president of Purdue Solar Racing, this category is geared toward vehicles designed specifically for practical use on public roads and highways.
"It's the team's first four-wheel car in recent years and the first urban concept vehicle," said Pesyna. "We've always focused on making vehicles that are optimized for efficiency--very small, slim vehicles that tend to look more like an airfoil than a conventional vehicle. Celeritas is different than any car we've ever designed. Our focus is not only on maximizing efficiency but also usability and aesthetics. It's a vehicle the consumer could see themselves driving."
Check out the marathon's website during and after the event to see the outcomes: Shell Eco-Marathon