Over the decades, Purdue Solar Racing has grown from humble beginnings into a successful and innovative collegiate solar car team in the United States of America. We have built nine vehicles to date and competed in races including the Formula Sun Grand Prix, American Solar Challenge, and Shell Eco-Marathon. Our tenth vehicle, Renatus, is currently being manufactured.
Renatus - 2018
Renatus, Latin for 'rebirth,' is Purdue Solar Racing's tenth vehicle. Renatus has the footprint of a small SUV, but will weigh only 800 pounds with the driver inside. Designs for the mechanical and electrical systems are complete and vehicle manufacturing is progressing, as evidenced by the image below (as of April 2016).
Navitas - 2013
Navitas was Purdue Solar Racing's second iteration of an Urban Concept solar vehicle, placing first in the battery electric category of the Shell Eco-Marathon in 2013 with an equivalent efficiency of 2,630 mpg. Improving from our experiences in building Celeritas, our first urban concept vehicle, Navitas was designed to be more aerodynamic and lightweight. Major efficiency gains came from the addition of carbon fiber wheels, a space-grade solar array, and solar concentrators to maximize energy collection. Aptly named, Navitas means 'energy.'
Celeritas - 2011
Celeritas (Latin for 'swiftness') was Purdue Solar Racing's first Urban Concept vehicle to compete in the Shell Eco Marathon. It was designed to be more like current production vehicles, with features such as regenerative braking and plug-in charging capabilities. Celeritas made several media appearances, including coverage of its unveiling by WFLI News. With an increased power output of 600W, it placed first in the battery electric category at the 2011 Shell Eco Marathon.
PULSAR - 2008
PULSAR is the most successful vehicle ever built by Purdue Solar Racing. With an equivalent efficiency of 4,913 mpg and a 300W power output, it won the Shell Eco-Marathon Solar Prototype category for four consecutive years. PULSAR made many appearances in local and national media and represented Purdue at events such as the U.S. Science and Engineering Festival.
S.P.O.T II - 2005
SPOT II was designed and built for the 2005 North American Solar Challenge. As an evolution of the 2003 SPOT vehicle, SPOT II featured enhanced usage of structural composites for a vehicle that weighed only 430 pounds, yet could reach a top speed of over 60 MPH. Unfortunately, a last minute technical challenge prevented the team from joining the 2005 race. SPOT II successfully completed the Tour of Indiana in 2006, participating in many outreach events with schools and sponsors throughout the state.
S.P.O.T - 2003
Starting in 2001, Sunrayce was renamed the American Solar Challenge. PSR chose to sit out the 2001 race to allow for more design and component testing of its next vehicle, S.P.O.T. (Solar Powered Overland Transportation). S.P.O.T. represented a quantum leap in both design and construction for PSR. Building on the experiences from Heliophile 2.5 and Pi, S.P.O.T. represented a marked improvement in ruggedness, aerodynamics, and composite construction. For the first time, the chassis of a Purdue solar car was made of composites. Other improvements in wiring, structural design, and composite techniques resulted in the most efficient vehicle PSR had ever created. The clean aerodynamic shape of S.P.O.T.'s body and the ruggedness of the running gear allowed PSR to cruise at speeds upwards of 45 MPH while traveling over 2,000 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles in the 2003 American Solar Challenge. Overcoming technical issues along the race, PSR placed an overall 13 out of the 20 teams that qualified for the race. The team also was awarded the "0-66" Award for the most improvement during the race.
Heliophile Pi - 1999
The members of Purdue Solar Racing returned to the drafting boards for the third major redesign of the Heliophile concept in 1999. Following a cycle of development and testing, Heliophile Pi was one of the lightest vehicles in the race. Considering the low power available for propelling a solar car, every ounce of weight matters. Information in lightweight design and construction has proved invaluable to the team. During the race, Pi had its best segment finishes of sixth and twelfth. Additionally, PSR was awarded the Sportsmanship Award for the helpful hand lent to Ohio State after an accident.
Heliophile 2.5 - 1997
Building on the success of 1995, the team opted to focus on improved aerodynamics for the 1997 Sunrayce. Although resulting in a disappointing finish, the knowledge gained regarding solar car aerodynamics and composite construction would be of significant benefit in the future.
Heliophile 1.5 - 1995
Two years after failing to qualify for the 1993 Sunrayce, the team spent hundreds of hours of engineering and construction to successfully qualify for Sunrayce 95. Heliophile 1.5 (Greek for "Lover of the Sun") finished a very respectable seventeenth out of forty participating teams.
Boilermaker Solar Special - 1993
Purdue University's venture into the competitive field of solar racing began in 1991, with a dedicated group of students determined to build a car capable of competing in Sunrayce 1993, the major collegiate solar car race at the time. Although inexperienced and small, the members began a trend with incredible capacities. Sunrayce 93 ended shortly in disappointment when the team failed to qualify for the race. This, however, was a building point and a chance to learn.