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High School Solar Racers

Baton Rouge Solar Team

Team picture after the race. From l-r, Peter Oelschlaeger (Faculty Sponsor), Tony Licata (Safety), Taylor Matthew, Sean Stuart, Brandon Augustus, Murphy Johnson (Driver), Rick Hochenedel (Driver), Leslie Morgan (Driver), Van Le (Master Mechanic), Alidia Findley (Captain), Kevin Stuart (Parent/Chaperon).

Earlier this year, a crowd gathered at Texas Motor Speedway for a race event–but not the kind one might expect. There was no telltale roar of internal combustion engines in the pits, only the sounds of battery chargers and teams preparing their vehicles for the upcoming race. This race is not driven by gasoline or methanol, or even the batteries themselves–instead, the primary power source is the sun.

The Solar Car Challenge is an annual competition open to teams from high schools across the country. The intent is to foster student’s interest in science, engineering, and alternative energy. 65+ schools in 20 different states are currently involved.

Given the obvious advantages of lithium batteries over lead-acid, a few of the preeminent teams are making the switch to gain a performance advantage. One such team is the Chariot of Helios. Hailing from Baton Rouge Magnet High, these students designed and constructed a fully functional solar car. Unfortunately, they were plagued with mechanical issues early on and were never able to recover the lost ground. Given their performance before the issues, they could easily have won the race with the Lithium Pros Powerpack.

We wish them the best of luck next year, as the competition moves off the racetrack and onto the streets…a trip from Texas Motor Speedway all the way to Los Angeles. We have no doubt the team will be back with the kinks worked out and ready to beat the competition. Our batteries will be there to provide safe, reliable energy storage along the way.

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