The team raced their newest vehicle, Eleanor, a total of 3,021 kilometers from the northern city of Darwin to Adelaide in South Australia, in five days. Eleanor is the 10th solar vehicle that the MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team has built and raced since 1984. The vehicle’s performance in this year’s competition ranked among the team's best finishes.
Designed and built by the SEVT in 2008 and 2009, the car, weighing 430 pounds without a driver, is a fully solar-powered electric vehicle built from high-tech composites and containing the state-of-the-art in power electronics.
Power is provided by an array of six square meters of silicon solar cells that outputs a maximum of 1200 watts — less than most hairdryers. Despite this, the car with a driver can maintain highway speeds throughout the day. The array charges a battery pack designed by Genasun, a company founded by a SEVT alumnus, composed of 551 extremely high energy density lithium-ion cells donated by Panasonic. The pack is able to power the car without recharging from Boston to New York.
The MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team is a student-run organization that designs, builds, tests, and races a solar vehicle on a two-year design cycle. Consisting mainly of undergraduates, the team competes in domestic and international competitions. The SEVT operates with the support of its sponsors, including Infinesse Corp., MIT's Edgerton Center, Ford, and Panasonic Corp.