Eos II Solar Car and the road ahead
The road ahead
It has been two years in the making but it’s finally here: the next generation solar car created by the University of Minnesota’s Solar Vehicle Project (SVP) team. Named Eos II, the vehicle will make its debut this June. It’s the 13th vehicle that has been built since the program began in 1990.
The SVP team is composed of U of M engineering and other students who collaborate with local companies, including 3M, on research, design, and construction.
Working with 3M
3M provides the team with supplies, mentorship, and hands-on experience. Their support has allowed the U’s team to set itself apart from its peers as one of the few in the country to build its own array of solar cells. “Working with 3M is critical for us to be able to do that,” says Graham Krumpelmann, a mechanical engineering major and the SVP’s director of engineering.
Team members use the opportunity not only to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom but also to gain experience that will help them after graduation. Krumpelmann says a number of SVP alumni work at 3M, Google, Tesla, Medtronic, and other prestigious companies.
Some students on the team helped build the last generation of the car, Eos, in 2015. Krumpelmann predicts the team’s experience will help edge-out the competition at the 1,800-mile World Solar Challenge, a race set to take place this October in Australia.
How building a “cool car” pays off
Racing a solar car built from two years of blood, sweat, and tears certainly has its own inherent rewards, but the work has impact beyond the U. “The most rewarding aspect is not only being able to see the work to make a really cool car pay off, but also to see people learning,” Krumpelmann says. “We build a car, but we mostly produce people who are better at their job—people who are going to go out into the world and make it better.”
Photos: Graham Krumpelmann and the Solar Vehicle Project team