Sun Powered Cars

Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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I’m not sure if it was guilt over my anti-wind generator rant here earlier this week…or just a natural curiosity..but I rode my motorcycle over to Falls Park on Wednesday to check out the arrival of sun-powered cars taking part in the North American Solar Challenge race from Texas to Calgary. (they spell race r-a-y-c-e..like rays from the sun I guess)
Sioux Falls is once again a stop-over for these odd looking electric machines designed and  built by college students for anywhere from 50 thousand to a quarter million dollars. The object is to propel a person across the country using nothing but solar power in the least amount of time. There may be only one person at the wheel..but the major challengers, like reigning champion Michigan, have a support team of 20 or more students.Michigan support crew members lift the car body up to get maximum exposure to the sun for recharging the solar panels.
The Wolverines are in the lead again; their entry called “Continuum” rolled into the park with full police escort some 40 minutes ahead of the next challenger. I didn’t stick around to see who that was. It was hot and even though I was disguised in shorts and a baby blue polo shirt, I was sure I’d be recognized by someone in the crowd of planet friendly environmental enthusiasts wearing Tilley hats, riding ten speeds and packing a lunch of soy nuts and bean sprouts wanting to take issue with my views on wind power.
Bottom line, though, it’s nice that the event comes through our town and here’s wishing them sunny days until they roll safely past the checkered flag in Canada next Tuesday."So how many miles to a recharge there then?"
Oh, as I was about to leave Falls Park, I saw two freckled face little boys on their way to do some fishing in the river. They reminded me of a modern day Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. I thought that would make a cute picture for the blog and started to reach for my camera when I suddenly had visions of someone calling the cops to report a suspicious heavy-set guy in a funny looking aqua colored shirt and riding a motorcycle  snapping photos of children in the park.
I quickly put my Kodak back in the case.
Oh, the times in which we live.

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