Office of University Relations
SDSM& T News
501 E. St. Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701- 3995
Phone: ( 605) 394- 6082/ 2554 • Fax: ( 605) 394- 3388
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
( April 17, 1997)
PUBLIC UNVEILING OF SDSM& T’S NEW SOLAR CAR “ DAKOTA SUN” TO TAKE PLACE ON “ EARTH DAY”/ APRIL 22 ON TECH CAMPUS
South Dakota Tech’s Solar Motion team will hold a public unveiling of their new solar car, “ Dakota Sun,” on Earth Day, April 22. The unveiling will take place at 4: 00 p. m. in the Arch Area of the Tech campus. Tech’s team will leave the day after the public unveiling for Mesa, Arizona, to compete in the Sunrayce 97 Qualifying Competition, which will be held April 25- 27.
The public unveiling will include comments from Dr. Karen Whitehead, faculty advisor of the SDSM& T Solar Motion Team; Dr. Richard Gowen, President of SDSM& T; Cathy Prapotnik, Project Manager of the Solar Motion Team; and Cheyenne Vig, Marketing/ Public Relations Director for the Solar Motion Team.
“ Dakota Sun” is SDSM& T’s entry in Sunrayce 97, which is an intercollegiate competition of solar- powered cars open exclusively to colleges and universities in North America. Sunrayce is cosponsored by General Motors, Electronic Data Systems and the U. S. Department of Energy. This year’s race will take place June 19- 28 and will run from Indianapolis to Colorado Springs.
After finishing as the highest placing rookie team in Sunrayce 95, Tech’s solar team has made some changes and added some new components that will make them even more competitive in this year’s race. A major change from Tech’s entry in the 95 Sunrayce is the dramatic reduction in weight. “ Dakota Sun” weighs about 500 pounds without the driver -- a decrease of over 40% from the 1995 car. The reduced weight is due primarily to a change from an aluminum space frame and composite shell to a carbon fiber composite monocoque, which means the body is the frame.
Other changes to this year’s car include: 1) change from a 4- wheel to a 3- wheel design; 2) change from DC brushless motor connected to wheel with belt pulley system to a hub motor connected directly to the drive wheel; and 3) use of a smaller battery pack.
Many useful components have been added to “ Dakota Sun”, including a complex surveillance system that will monitor the car’s solar cell voltages, battery voltages and temperatures; a cruise control system to control speed and power consumption; and a Heads- Up Display monitor that will allow the driver to see critical car information through a virtual screen and allow the driver to remain focused on the road for safety purposes. The car also will use a Global Positioning System which can track the car’s position within feet.
In addition to placing highest among teams entering Sunrayce for the first time, the 1995 SDSM& T team placed sixteenth out of thirty- eight teams, received the “ Best Use of Technology” Award, and won the “ Humanitarian Award” for their efforts. Tech’s team hopes the changes and new components for this year’s car, combined with the team’s hard work and dedication, will lead to “ Dakota Sun” being the winning entry in Sunrayce 97!
MEDIA ADVISORY: A private unveiling of “ Dakota Sun” will be held for corporate sponsors and other VIP team supporters this Friday evening at 5: 30 p. m., followed by a brief program at 6: 00 p. m. Any media members interested in this invitation- only event should contact Cathy Prapotnik or Cheyenne Vig at 394- 2213 for more information and directions to the shop.
univrel/ pressrele/ 0497/ Dakota Sun Unveiling fax stwd)
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