With the start of the 2013 Shell Eco-Marathon just a couple of weeks away, Purdue Solar Racing team has unveiled its next-gen solar-powered vehicle – Navitas, which will be competing with hundreds of other vehicles registered to participate in the event. The racing event, which is a lot different than conventional car racing we all are accustomed to, will rate cars for the best energy efficiency.
The cars have to complete 10 laps around the 0.6-mile Discovery Green Track, at which point the MPGe will be calculated. Navitas will being the race with its 44.4V lithium polymer battery fully charged, after which the vehicle will not only consume power but also generate it using photovoltaic cells onboard.
Shell too has made significant changes in the categories for this year’s event and the photovoltaic elements and battery electrics have been merged into a single division called Electric Mobility. Moreover, the company has limited the solar cell area to just 0.65sqm, as opposed to 3sqm, or the Purdue Solar Racing team’s previous vehicle. To compensate this loss of space, the Purdue team has installed Fresnel reflectors to amplify the amount of sunlight caught by the solar array. This will allow the team to get about 2.5 times solar concentration.