New Team Photo and Testing Trip

Posted by Alexander Martin on October 19, 2015
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NUsolar 2015-2016 Team

NUsolar 2015-2016 Team

We would like to extend a warm welcome to our new members this year. We have about 20 people on the team this year, and all of them are already engaged in design projects for SC7. We have also been participating in many events around campus, including the recent Homecoming Parade, in which we won Best Float in the “Other” category.

2015 Homecoming Parade

NUsolar in the 2015 Homecoming Parade

This Sunday, we took a short test drive around campus and encountered a Tesla. The owner was kind enough to let us take a picture and also gave several members rides around the block.

SC6 and Tesla

NUsolar Returns for Fall Quarter 2015

Posted by Alexander Martin on October 06, 2015
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It’s a new year at Northwestern, and new years bring new friends, new challenges, and new cars. This year NUsolar will be designing our seventh solar car as well as preparing SC6 for its final and long-awaited race. We will be increasing our involvement in outreach and publicity events, with the help of 10 or so new members who have joined this year. So much is already going on—mechanical suspension and frame designs, concept art for the seventh car, trailer training, website maintenance, electrical testing, planning for outreach events, and more. And so much is yet to come.

New Team Leaders

Nathan Lindquist 15-235104-crop Alexander Martin

Spencer Williams (center; ’16 Computer Engineering) is the Project Manager this year, as well as Electrical Team Lead. Helping him as Assistant Project Managers are Nathan Lindquist (left; ’18 Computer Science) and Alexander Martin (right; ’17 Mechanical Engineering). These three manage all the personnel on the team and make sure that projects get done by each of the subteams.

New Car

The design process for our seventh generation solar vehicle begin this past summer and is already well underway. The mechanical team is working on frame and suspension designs and plans to have them finalized by the end of winter quarter this year, so that we can start building the car in the spring. The electrical team is working on telemetry software and upgrading boards on SC6. We plan to carry over many of the electrical systems from SC6 to the seventh car. Check out the cool concept art for the seventh vehicle.

Seventh Solar Car

New Tools

NUsolar is usinimage004g two new tools this year to help us manage our projects. The first tool is Trello. Trello is an online bulletin board app that allows you to organize projects and tasks and keep track of what is being done. We can set due dates and attach pdfs or files from Google Drive. All team members can comment on cards and can ask each other questions, without need to send 1,100 emails back and forth. Trello is sponsoring our team by giving a business class account, so that we can control which teams see which boards. For more information, visit


The second tool we are using is GrabCAD. Called by many the “GitHub for CAD,” GrabCAD is a now-free collaboration app for CAD files. It allows us to automatically track and compare versions of our models. It supports all major CAD formats, and has an online viewer so people without a CAD program can view the files. It also has a desktop client and SolidWorks integration.


NUsolar has already been involved a several outreach and publicity events this quarter, and we have several more planned. We participated in the 2015 Evanston Green Living Festival, where we talked to the Evanston community about who we are and what we do. We also had a table at the McCormick Student Activities Fair. We got to talk to prospective members about what they can do on the team.

Later in fall quarter we will be participating in the Green Living Expo at McHenry Country College (Nov. 7th). Illinois State Solar Car Team (prISUm) participated in this event last year and the organizers are excited to have a second solar car joining them. We will also be hosting an outreach event at Big Brothers Big Sisters of America in conjunction with Exelon Corporation of Chicago. Exelon is sponsoring a mini-solar-car race for middle and high schoolers, and we will attend the event with SC6, talk to the kids about what we do, and help present prizes to the winners.

For more information about events, follow our Facebook page or our Twitter.

FSGP 2015 Race Participation Canceled

Posted by on July 13, 2015
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Dear All,

This is the last kind post we ever wanted to make on this blog. Unfortunately, our car, SC6, will not be able to participate in this month’s Formula Sun Grand Prix in Austin, TX.

While testing some new temperature sensor boards in June, we shorted four controllers on our Battery Protection System (BPS). We quickly reached out to company that manufactures them to purchase more, but did not receive a response for three weeks. This was an unexpected delay.

Based on previous experience with this company’s shipping process, by the time we finally contacted the company, we knew we could not count on getting the parts we needed by the time of FSGP. On July 3rd, our project manager, Spencer Williams, made the decision to cancel our participation in the 2015 race.

Needless to say, this is a big disappointment for our team. All of our members put in a lot of work this year preparing the car for the race. Some who were planning to attend the race are now making plans to attend with teams at other universities, so that our members can still have “race experience.”

The issues which caused the BPS to short have been fixed, and we have already established contact with the company to purchase more control units. Members of the team will start heading back to NU in early September so that the car can be ready to drive by the time the Class of 2019 starts to arrive on campus. For more information, please contact us at



The NUsolar Car Team