Big news, everybody! The team made a major discovery this week, and we’ve decided to move away from solar power altogether. Read on…
When driving the car on Thursday – the first time with our new mascot Will the Bobblehead attached to the bottom shell – veteran driver Jess Sudo noticed some major vibrations lurching the car forward and backward “as if it was being shoved by a person,” she said. She stopped, and the team searched the car for anything out of the ordinary. After thoroughly examining the suspension, the green light was given to continue testing. But the shaking reappeared the moment the car hit 20 mph. Confused again, we re-checked all the logical sources and continued driving. Weighing only three pounds, the bobblehead was initially ruled out as a source, but after five more rounds of mysterious lurching, we finally realized – the Willie the Wildcat bobblehead doll was causing all the problems.
But how to explain the severity of the vibrations? After some more road tests, mechanical engineering major Matt Filak made a discovery: The bobblehead was oscillating at precisely the resonant frequency of the solar car. Always striving for innovative new ways to improve the car, he got to work trying to use this discovery to our advantage. He soon realized that by mounting the bobblehead just 3 inches higher in the car and tilted 9.5 degrees, the bobbling of the bobblehead generated enough energy to power the car. Just to be certain, Filak disconnected the batteries. A few team members gave the car a push to get Will’s head a-wiggling, and then – slowly at first, but then faster – the car was on the move, completely powered by the bobblehead’s motion.
In developing our next car, we’re now going a completely different direction to ensure there’s enough space for a GIANT Willie the Wildcat bobblehead doll. We’re currently in talks with American Solar Car Challenge to see if our newly non-solar-powered car will still be eligible to race this summer. Keep following our blog to learn more about this amazing development, which could change the face of automotive technology as we now it!